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79 A primary goal of an ACRP synthesis is to arrive at conclusions, based on the extensive literature review and data collection. In this chapter, conclusions are presented that not only aid the reader in better understanding the issues, but also provide action steps to improve the career pipeline. Conclusion 1 Most high schools and community colleges with aviation programs neither currently offer airport operations/management academic programs nor have plans to do so in the future. As a result, the creation of more airport operations/management academic programs would be beneficial for the airport industry at both the high school and community college levels. Airport leaders can play an important role in the development of future airport operations/management programs. Conclusion 2 Aviation student enrollment at both high schools and community colleges is small, so addi- tional outreach and aviation academic programs are needed. Airport leaders can play an important role not only in the development of additional programs, but also in engaging local K-12 students through air shows, airport tours, and school visits to attract student interest in aviation academic programs and careers. This community outreach can produce significant returns for an airport. Conclusion 3 Because high school partnerships with airports are more common than community college partnerships with airports, the development of more partnerships between community colleges and airports would not only prove beneficial to students, but also serve to strengthen community colleges and their relationships with the airport industry. There are many opportunities for airports to connect and partner with both high schools and community colleges. Conclusion 4 There is a general lack of purpose-built facilities to support aviation academic programs at high schools and community colleges, so airports might consider supporting local aviation academic programs by beginning a discussion on the possibility of hangars and classroom C H A P T E R 6 Conclusions and Further Research
80 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges space on airport property in support of aviation programs at local high schools and commu- nity colleges. Conclusion 5 Because of challenges at both high schools and community colleges involving funding, outside influences, development, and political support, airports may significantly help high school and community college aviation programs in these areas by providing resources for support. The airport can potentially influence city/county councils/commissions and community development boards, for example, to stimulate interest and support for local high school and community college aviation programs. Conclusion 6 Airport staff can support extracurricular activities at high school and community college aviation programs by offering airport tours and guest speakers. Some airports, such as Riverside, CA, Municipal Airport, have hosted a STEM fair in their terminal to engage high school students in aviation. By reaching out to local high schools and community colleges and participating in Career Days, airport staff can stimulate interest in their profession by sharing from personal experience. Conclusion 7 A number of high school and community college aviation programs require, and others sug- gest, some form of work-based learning by students, and airports could support this require- ment with internships and other innovative industry learning opportunities. The American Association of Airport Executives offers a sample airport internship guide on its website, available at https://bit.ly/2BanBXj. Conclusion 8 Because 75% of high school aviation programs and 29% of community college aviation programs provide unmanned flight training to students, airports that support UAS operations and integrationâpossibly by offering on-airport space for UAS operationsâwill be supporting the next generation of UAS professionals. Conclusion 9 Although most students in high school and community college aviation programs appear well aware of the many aviation career options, airports can ensure that students consider the airport management profession by holding and participating in career fairs, open houses, tours, internships, and more. Conclusion 10 Generally, airport industry certifications (such as AAAE ACE or C.M.) are not offered by high school and community college aviation programs. As such, airports could promote these industry certification programs to high schools and community colleges and possibly even offer to proctor said exams at the airport.
Conclusions and Further Research 81 Conclusion 11 Airports could lend support to high school and community college aviation programs by supporting the promotion of these programs to prospective students and for recruiting faculty (possibly during an air show or chamber of commerce meeting, for example). Conclusion 12 By supporting existing and planned high school and community college aviation programs, airports may ensure that the airport industry is aware of such programs. Conclusion 13 Airports have a great deal to offer high school and community college aviation programs and, with expertise, internships, and more, are able to minimize aviation program challenges as a result. Conclusion 14 If airports are interested in developing partnerships with high school and community college aviation programs, they would benefit by reviewing high school and community college statements of advice to industry, as well as learning from airports with existing high school or community college partnerships. Conclusion 15 There needs to be a champion to not only propose the development of an aviation program, but also drive it forward. If this champion is only one teacher, there is concern about the life of the program if that one teacher were to leave the school. The airport and airline industries can provide an industry champion to both stimulate development and ensure continued growth of the program. Conclusion 16 Because some schools may not have a teacher on staff with an aviation background, industry support for such a teacher is crucial. As an example, AOPA offers a scholarship program that supports teachers learning to fly. Conclusion 17 Schools might want to consider partnering with the Civil Air Patrol. This U.S. Air Force auxiliary provides a cadet program designed to prepare students as aviation and aerospace leaders of tomorrow. The program focuses on leadership, aerospace, fitness, and character. Conclusion 18 Airports may participate in high school and community college industry advisory committees and forums for career guidance and counseling.
82 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges Further Research Although this synthesis revealed practices among high schools and community colleges with aviation programs, resources did not allow deeper analysis of airport practices in preparing the next generation of aviation professionals, to include partnerships with K-12 and colleges. Airports are concerned about succession planning and ensuring a stable pipeline of talent, so more research could be conducted on airport practices in that area. By providing success stories shared by airports, more airports would be encouraged to engage K-12 and college students. Additionally, it would be beneficial for further research to be conducted on the quality of new-hire employees who graduated from high school and community college aviation programs. These academic programs desire industry feedback, and whether through advisory boards or informal discussions, airports can âcomplete the circleâ by sharing information with these academic programs related to their productâgraduates prepared to enter the industry.