STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma State University is among the first institutions to receive a sizable grant through the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018.

The $450,000 Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers grant was awarded to OSU to establish a sustainable training pipeline to address the Oklahoma aviation maintenance workforce’s needs and priorities.

Aviation maintenance professionals are a significant part of the aviation and aerospace industry that drives the state’s economic growth, according to an OSU news release.

The grant is indicative of how OSU is pushing aerospace forward both at the university and across the state, according to OSU President Kayse Shrum.

“As a modern land-grant institution, our mission is to use public-impact research to improve lives and engage with industry to solve society’s most pressing needs,” Shrum said. “When it comes to aerospace, our state has an opportunity to lead, and that leadership begins right here at Oklahoma State, where we are focused both on advancing research and empowering a skilled workforce that can propel our state forward.”

Oklahoma State University

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK, who established the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers grant program, as well as one for aircraft pilots, complimented OSU’s commitment to advancing Oklahoma’s aerospace industry.

Inhofe also recognized the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, the only other state entity that received a similar grant — $491,000 to launch a statewide program that includes training teachers and delivering the “You Can Fly” Pilot and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Pathway High School Curriculum to students.

“Oklahoma would not be able to thrive without aviation maintenance technical workers,” Inhofe said. “It is essential that we find ways to improve their career opportunities and ensure they have the proper training to keep up with the ever-changing aviation industry. I am proud to have seen this funding through to the finish line and I know Oklahoma State University will put it to good use, educating the next generation of aviation maintenance professionals.”

 Congressman Frank Lucas, R-OK-03, is also enthusiastic about OSU receiving the grant.

“I’m extremely proud of the work Oklahoma State University is doing to establish a sustainable pipeline of well-trained aviation technicians who can service some of the world’s most successful aerospace companies that call Oklahoma home,” Lucas said. “With more than 1,100 aerospace entities operating in the state — including manufacturers, researchers and development, military, and others — the Federal Aviation Administration’s investment of $450,000 to Oklahoma State University will help train a skilled workforce that is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy.

Dr. Kenneth Sewell, OSU Vice President for Research, said the university is consistently focused on supporting the aerospace industry.

“OSU’s programs in aviation education and in aerospace engineering provide the backbone of this support, and the new FAA workforce development grant will serve to amplify our impact,” Sewell said.