United, Delta partnerships making Dayton hub for aviation education

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Teachers and administrators in Greene County learn how STEM and aviation are inseparable

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

New partnerships between major airlines and local schools and organizations are aimed at growing the pool of STEM-educated graduates for the aviation job market.

United Airlines is making significant donations to support Air Camp Inc., a Dayton-area not-for-profit that has grown substantially since its first camp in 2010.

In addition to flying in students from various parts of the country, United will be flying in 70 or more teachers from their hub cities of Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Newark, N.J. to attend Teachers Air Camps in July, according to Spokesperson Andrea Hiller.

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“Air Camp is unique in its ability to spark an appreciation for aviation while also providing education in STEM related fields that are directly connected to developing careers in aviation,” Hiller said. “We hope the organization will expand far beyond their current service region to reach even more students.”

Delta Air Lines is now partnering with the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, where students are learning to become certified aircraft maintenance technicians.

Delta is making their training equipment available to the local students and increasing students’ access to a potential career with Delta, MVCTC officials said in a release.

For Air Camp Inc., growth has been steady since its inception, according to Vince Russo, Air Camp Inc. co-founder and president.

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“We want to have a program that gains national attention like Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.,” Russo said. “United is going to be one of our big supporters … Once that gets a foothold, I got a feeling the other big guys are going to want a part of the action.”

By the numbers, Air Camp hosted 40 area students in seventh, eighth and ninth grades in the first year; about 300 youths from across the nation will be attending camps this year, Russo said.

Air Camp is adding new programs and seeing success with one focused on educators. This year, 122 teachers from Greene County and 80 more from out-of-state will be attending three-day Air Camps, Russo said. In addition, camps are being held for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts bringing the total number of camps this year to 14.

One possible expansion of Air Camp that’s being talked about is adding a camp for high school students, said Shannon Coblentz, Air Camp director of operations.

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“If we do it, it will be important to partner with local colleges and universities,” Coblentz said. “We want to make sure the depth of rigor continues to grow and provide tangible evidence of work in the form of college credits.”