AEA spotlights new Aerospace Academy with FAA Administrator

From left to right: Colin McKee, STA instructor; Steve Dixon, FAA administrator; Dr. Jeremy Bonnesen, STA director/principal; and Mike Adamson, AEA President and CEO.

On Monday, June 28, AEA President and CEO Mike Adamson, along with a group of education, government and economic development officials, met with Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson at Summit Technology Academy in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a career-focused academy designed to prepare high school students for high-demand professional careers. For more than two years, the AEA has partnered with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri to help develop the Aerospace Academy that will open for the 2021-2022 school year. As a result of this work and the program’s launch this year, high school students will learn flight and electronic principles as juniors and then focus on one of seven different career tracks as seniors. The career tracks include: aerospace engineering; avionics; professional pilot; aviation maintenance; drone pilot; aviation management; and military aviation.

A part of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Summit Tech Academy is located at the Missouri Innovation Campus that is shared with the University of Central Missouri. Dickson’s visit to the new Aerospace Academy, which was led by STA Director/Principal Dr. Jeremy Bonnesen, took place less than a week after the FAA announced it has accepted the AEA’s avionics technician apprenticeship program to satisfy regulatory compliance for the issuance of a repairman certificate, another critical step in the aviation industry's ongoing workforce development efforts that offers a new career pathway where individuals can simultaneously earn a competitive wage, gain knowledge with structured learning and on-the-job training, and achieve industry-recognized credentials.

“Showcasing this new Aerospace Academy to Administrator Dickson gave us another opportunity to emphasize our industry’s need to identify, recruit and develop the next generation of aerospace workers,” Adamson said. “For years, aviation and avionics professionals have talked about the importance of workforce development initiatives, and this new program is a step in the right direction to put those words into action. We are honored to partner with educational leaders from throughout the Kansas City area to make this program a model for others to follow.”

In addition to providing continuous industry training at its headquarters in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the AEA will support the Aerospace Academy through experiential learning opportunities for its students and equipment donations through the AEA Educational Foundation, including avionics equipment, wiring, tools and more.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Overall employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be good because there will be a need to replace those workers leaving the occupation.”

To learn more about the new Aerospace Academy, click here.