Erie high school students to learn aviation science in new STEM-based program next year

Local News

Erie’s high school students will be joining more than 80 schools in a new aviation curriculum. It is part of a new STEM-based program with hopes of exposing young people to opportunities in the aviation industry. And, starting next academic school year, it will be right here in Erie.

Erie High School will be one of more than 100 schools implementing a new type of STEM curriculum into their schools starting in the fall of 2019. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, also known as AOPA, will be creating the material to focus around aviation science: technology, engineering and math.

Assistant Principle Barb Zimmer says this will provide a unique chance for students to experience the new four-year program.

“It’s a great opportunity. I think it gives them a chance to see all the jobs that are available at an airport.”

Starting in the fall, the goal is to have 25-30 9th and 10th-grade students enrolled in the course taught by a teacher at the school.

With the Aviation industries expected job growth in the near future, Greg Hayes of the North Coast Flight school says that this is a great way for a student to determine if this is a possible career for them.

“Once they understand what’s out there, they can see the job possibilities. Right now in aviation, with the pilot shortage, mechanic shortage; there is a shortage of everything.”

Hayes is not kidding about a shortage in the industry. According to a Boeing study, there will be more than 2.1 billion jobs opening in the field ranging from pilots, technicians, and cabin crew by 2036.

“This is something the people of Erie should be very proud of. It is something that is new and different to this area. We just need to really foster this and get it off to a good start.”

The AOPA Foundation will be donating all of the curriculum’s material to the school free of charge.

Zimmer tells us that at some point in the future, students will be using drones.

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