WYANDOTTE, Okla. — Wyandotte Public Schools is providing students with a unique career opportunity.

A new aviation school is being built on campus. What’s more — it will be the first aerospace STEM program in native territory in the United States.

“It exposes the students to other opportunities. And again Oklahoma has such a rich aviation industry it gives them jobs and opportunities here in the community,” said Anna Thornley, R3-AEROCORE and R3 Jetworks CEO.

The Chief Leaford Bearskin Aviation High School is being built behind Wyandotte Public Schools.

R3-AEROCORE is spearheading the project and will be investing more than $2-million into the program.

“The initial push is funding and sponsoring the 37 students that will be enrolled this year. We are providing the simulators the classrooms, the airplanes as well as the drones that will be needed for the first year,” said Thornley.

9th through 12th grade students accepted into the program can choose from four career paths: flight, maintenance technology, engineering, and security and safety.

“It depends which discipline you take. If you are in the private pilot program and you’re entering into the fixed wing program then you will have your pilot’s license. If you are doing drone operations you will have your drone pilot’s license.”

Thornley hopes this new school will combat shortages in the aviation industry.

“There’s going to be a pilot shortage between now and 3035 of 250,000 just in the United States alone. The attrition in the maintenance program is about four to one. So we have one person coming in for every four that are leaving the workforce.”

This will be the third aviation high school in Oklahoma.

“It’s a great opportunity and we would like to see as many kids as possible coming into the program. It would give them an opportunity to have a job when they leave high school,” said Brad Wade, Wyandotte Public Schools Superintendent.

The new building and aviation simulation lab will be completed by August.

The students will also get hands on training in the cockpit from pilots.

To see Wyandotte’s introduction of the aviation school follow this link.