On May 15th 2018, in Egg Harbor Twp., students from around the region were invited to the 3rd annual Aviation STEM day at the FAA Tech Center. Students were assigned an FAA Aviation STEM Ambassador and given a chance to interact with more than 44 display booths, flight simulators and even a drone cage.

Atlantic County officials are looking to establish aviation STEM programs in area high schools through a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that would build on the importance of the industry to the region.

“The initial meeting with Embry-Riddle generated a lot of excitement and interest,” said Robert Bumpus, executive Atlantic County superintendent of schools. “We plan to hold our next meeting of county superintendents in early January to begin fleshing out the details.”

Earlier this month, the county announced that Embry-Riddle agreed to serve as an academic partner in the development of an operational plan for an Atlantic County Aviation Maintenance and Technical Academy through a $120,000 grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The recent meeting, which included superintendents and educators, was arranged by the Atlantic County Economic Alliance and Atlantic County government as part of their workforce development efforts.

Superintendents and educators met in the new, 56,000-square-foot building in the National Aviation Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township located adjacent to the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center and Atlantic City International Airport. The Economic Alliance has worked with state and local officials to establish an aviation innovation hub in the county.

Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School Superintendent John Keenan said that through Embry-Riddle, area high schools have an opportunity to build a program that complements the county’s initiative.

“They are offering students programs to learn and directly enter the workforce even before high school graduation as well as a dual enrollment program for college- bound students. I applaud Mr. (Dennis) Levinson and county leaders for laying the ground work with this prestigious university in providing Atlantic County students these opportunities,” said Keenan who attended the meeting.

County Executive Dennis Levinson said students have the potential to earn up to 12 college credits through the STEM program.

“Coming from an education background, we need an educated workforce. This is why we have a comprehensive vocational school and we also have to interest our area high schools to get involved,” Levinson said.

He said that while tourism is a large part of the local economy, the aviation industry has the ability to provide long-term, high-paying jobs for the future.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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