Amid shrinking supply and increasing demand for qualified technical personnel in the aviation industry, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education (KIAE) is addressing the solution in a big way. Tim Smith, executive director and CEO, founded KIAE in 2010 based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning.
Jeffrey Carrithers, president and CEO of Globalair.com and KIAE board member, told AIN, “I see this as a new way of educating our kids. Students can enter the program anytime during high school and be able to take classes that have college credit, which would subsequently apply to a degree.” According to Smith, the program currently includes 20 Kentucky public high schools.
“This is our third year and we already have graduates enrolled in the University of North Dakota, Embry Riddle and other universities. We’ve had more than 600 students in the program and anticipate growth to as many as 1,500 in a given year.” The program creates pathways for students into flight and aeronautics, aeronautical engineering, aircraft maintenance, aviation operations and management, and space systems engineering. All five pathways have university connections with high school students earning college credit plus industry certifications such as private pilot.