Rolling with the theme of our new year, let’s bring things into focus.
In 2020, much of our work surrounding the North Dakota Aviation Council will be focused on outreach and engagement.
We have a number of different opportunities that we have either set in motion or are working on the first steps in organizing.
20/20 – Bringing Clarity and Focus to Our Identity and Mission
In November, the branding and identity subcommittee presented the board of directors with a number of options to help create clarity between the blurred lines of what is the North Dakota Aviation Council (NDAC) and the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC). In addition to the naming challenge of the council, we were also presented options to rename and rebrand the annual Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium (UMAS). In March at UMAS, we will be presenting a new proposed name and brand for the Council and Symposium to members of the Aviation Council, who will vote.
Executing on Our Mission: Promoting Aviation
This past October, Mike McHugh and I attended a career expo in Leesburg, VA that has had great success over the past decade in engaging and inspiring students to consider a career in aviation. Our goal was to meet with the organizers and attend the event to help us learn more about how we could start something like this across the entire state of North Dakota. With what we have learned, we have begun to reach out to our aviation and education communities to form a planning committee to organize and host an annual career expo. If you are interested in serving on the planning committee, please reach out to me directly as soon as possible.
In addition to the career expo as a means of reaching our youth, we have five high schools across the state that are currently offering aviation programs. We would love to see this number continue to grow and would love your help in getting the word out to schools across the state that may have an interest in starting a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. Aviation is a natural fit for schools looking to build on their STEM education programs. The AOPA has developed a turn-key curriculum available free of charge to schools that apply and are selected to use their program. The application process is currently open and will close on February 28, 2020. youcanfly.aopa.org/high-school/high-school-curriculum
If you would like more information on the aviation curriculum and programs available for schools in North Dakota, please contact Mike McHugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workforce Development Funding Through FAA Reauthorization:
Here is a quick update if you have been following the FAA’s reauthorization bill: The bill includes $10 million for aviation workforce development programs for aircraft pilot workforce and for aviation maintenance workforce, as authorized by section 625 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. It is currently moving through appropriations and will be given to the FAA for implementation. There are ongoing conversations to consider applying for a grant to fund new aviation education initiatives throughout the state. If you have ideas other than the career expo and high school programs, I would love to hear from you.
On Approach to UMAS
Lastly, I would like to mention we are holding our first election of officers at UMAS 2020. Our Executive Director, the Staiger Consulting Group, will be helping us through the process as we are currently accepting nominations that will be voted on at UMAS. If you or someone you know would like to invest in your aviation community by serving, we would love to hear from you.
Daren Hall, Chairman
North Dakota Aviation Council