It is a common misconception that teachers don’t do any work during the summer. While they do have time to relax and are not going into school daily, teachers are still busy planning lessons for the next school year. In addition, many teachers take advantage of professional development opportunities. This summer, the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) and the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) partnered with the University of North Dakota – Aerospace (UND) to host several aviation focused professional development opportunities. Funding for these opportunities was provided by a workforce development grant awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
I am very excited to share that we had nearly 50 educators from around the region attend these two-day courses. It was very exciting to see teachers from all over North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota wanting to learn more about our industry. We also had teachers from a variety of backgrounds, including elementary, middle school, and high school teaching a variety of subjects. It was a great audience who came with energy, ready to learn.
Our first two classes were offered in Grand Forks, ND and Fargo, ND. Teachers attending these courses participated in a variety of tours, highlighting aviation in North Dakota. The hands-on learning included a variety of simulations at UND as well as tours of Cirrus manufacturing, the Grand Forks Airport operations and firefighting, the Grand forks Air Force Base and CBP, UND maintenance, and Northrup Grumman. Moving a little further south, we visited the Kindred Airport, West Fargo Airport (including an aerial application demonstration) and a variety of businesses around the Fargo Airport. Teachers left with knowledge of opportunities available for their students right here in North Dakota. I think every location we toured indicated they need employees, and we hope these teachers will share the career opportunities with their students.
After the initial week of professional development opportunities, more courses were offered at a variety of locations around the region. These courses focused on integrating aviation education into current educational environments. A full day was dedicated to unmanned aircraft and a second day highlighted the curriculum available for manned and unmanned aviation.
Our hope is that the educators in attendance will be able to bring the material back to their schools and either integrate aviation into their current coursework or provide additional aviation opportunities through aviation classes or extracurriculars, such as drone racing clubs. We hope that by teachers exposing students to the opportunities available in the industry, we will see less pressure on the workforce in the future. We know this will take time.
I would like to thank everyone who opened up their facility to these teachers and shared their passion for the industry. There are really too many people and businesses to mention. Your time is greatly appreciated!
Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator
North Dakota Aeronautics Commission
701-328-9650 | firstname.lastname@example.org