Gulfstream Establishes West Michigan Aviation Academy Scholarship

 - February 12, 2014, 12:53 PM

Gulfstream Aerospace has established a four-year college scholarship for eligible seniors attending West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA) in Grand Rapids. WMAA is a tuition-free public charter high school that offers an aviation education, along with a “rigorous” academic curriculum.

Gulfstream will award a $60,000 scholarship to one WMAA graduating senior each year from 2014 to 2017, totaling $240,000. Students will be selected on the basis of financial need, academic performance and enrollment in an aviation-related degree path at an accredited higher education institution.

“We are thrilled to partner with the West Michigan Aviation Academy to help foster future aviation leaders,” said Jennifer Giffen, Gulfstream vice president of human resources. “Gulfstream is committed to advancing education and cultivating the talent our industry will need as the business-aviation market continues to grow.”

WMAA opened in the fall of 2010 with 80 freshmen and now has 400 students. Seventy seniors are expected to graduate in the spring.


Many states do not consider a flight instructor rating to be equal to a state teacher certificate and therefore will not allow an FAA certified flight instructor to be given all of the same rights and tenure as a first grade teacher in public schools. Starting teacher salary was just raised in North Carolina to about $32,000 per year. If the aviation industry really wanted to see aviation grow and provide more profit to the manufacturers and service providers, the aviation industry lobbyists should lobby heavily for FAA Certified Flight Instructors, even those CFIs without a college degree, to be granted the same professional status and tenure as a first grade teacher in public schools. Public schools can be used to introduce the younger generation to STEM courses which includes aerospace education. More young people should learn to fly knowing they can apply for a public school teacher position after 2 years of solo and start making $30,000 per year as a CFI teaching in a public school.

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