In a show of commitment for STEM education and the growth of high-paying jobs in the aerospace workforce, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) approved the 2016-17 Florida First budget, which includes $10 million in funding through three separate grants for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The first is a $5 million grant for the construction of a new wind tunnel complex that will serve as a major differentiator for the university’s research park. The wind tunnel will house testing, measurement and airflow functions unlike any other comparable technology in the Southeast, providing students and the university a competitive advantage when vying for research and commercial opportunities globally.
“In addition to the expanded research potential for the university, this wind tunnel better positions our Research Park – allowing us to attract companies to the area, creating a platform for high-paying jobs,” said Mori Hosseini, Embry-Riddle’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Embry-Riddle also received $3 million to continue the Gaetz Aerospace Institute – a STEM education program created in 2004, now in over 70 Florida high schools across 35 counties – doubling size in the last year. The program offers free college credits and hands-on experience in courses focusing on growing industries including aviation, unmanned systems, aerospace, engineering, computers and business. Nearly 3,000 high school students have or are currently participating in the program, providing a superior talent pipeline for the state.
An additional $2 million grant will focus on helping qualified student pilots secure the needed certifications at a reduced cost to become employable first officers – meeting the industry demand for pilots.
“Embry-Riddle students continue to command the attention of employers, landing jobs in their chosen fields at impressive rates,” said Dr. John R. Watret, Interim President. “This underscores the high return on investment for an Embry-Riddle education, and our commitment to building a qualified aerospace workforce in Florida and beyond.”
In the past five years, the university has been appropriated more than $40 million in funds that have translated into research, outreach initiatives, infrastructure and projects that underscore Embry-Riddle’s dedication to the aerospace workforce and continued innovation in the state and local community.
“We are truly honored, humbled and express our gratitude to the legislature and governor for their shared commitment to the future of STEM education, growing aerospace jobs and Embry-Riddle,” Hosseini said.
Florida is ranked No. 1 in the nation by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in aerospace manufacturing attractiveness. It also is nationally ranked as the No. 2 largest aviation, aerospace and space establishment by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Read “Embry-Riddle Secures $5 Million from State for Cutting-Edge Wind Tunnel” in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
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