NC Department of Transportation announces application for new grant program

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — In a press release Monday, The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation announced it is accepting applications from airports for its 2022 Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy Grant Program.

The program supports aerospace workforce development by providing grants of up to $3,000 per academy to host aerospace and aviation career-focused summer academies for middle and high school students that inspire and engage the next generation of talent. Academies must host a minimum of 30 students.

Topics can include aviation history, career discovery and planning and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones). Academies should place a priority on exploring high-demand aviation and aerospace careers, such as manned and unmanned aircraft pilots, aircraft technicians, electronics, including coding and programming, avionics, air traffic controllers and engineers. Academies will also explore how students can gain education and credentials through North Carolina’s community college and university programs to pursue those professions.

NCDOT has allocated $24,000 in grant funds for this program. All 72 North Carolina public-use airports eligible for development grant funding from NCDOT are eligible for this program. Airports are encouraged to partner with local educational and nonprofit organizations to apply.

North Carolina’s public airports generate more than $61 billion annually for the state’s economy and provide more than 373,000 jobs. The rapid growth of the aerospace and unmanned aircraft system sectors offers job opportunities for North Carolinians in the aerospace field.

“There is already a tremendous need to develop the workforce in the transportation industry,” said NCDOT Director of Aviation Bobby Walston. “Instilling a passion for aviation and aerospace in our youth will ensure that we develop a strong talent pipeline to sustain and grow this important sector and provide jobs for our people and communities.”

Airports must apply for grants by March 7. For more information, visit connect.ncdot.gov and search “ACE Academies”.

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