Textron, the Rhode Island-based parent company of Textron Aviation, has made a $1 million donation to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation to support its You Can Fly initiative and high school aviation STEM curriculum. AOPA intends to use the donation to broaden the reach of the programs to high school students.
More than 12,000 high school students in 44 states participate in the programs, which are aimed at building a workforce shortage in aviation. “It addresses one of the most pressing issues facing the entire aviation industry, and it puts high school students on a solid track to rewarding careers,” said AOPA Foundation and You Can Fly senior v-p Elizabeth Tennyson.
A pillar of You Can Fly, the STEM curriculum was launched in the 2017 to 2018 academic year and recently celebrated its first graduates, 58 percent of whom said they plan to pursue careers as pilots, aerospace engineers, and maintenance technicians. Forty percent of students are minorities, 21 percent are female, and 54 percent attend mid- to high-poverty schools.