Aerospace advocates have briefed state lawmakers on how investment in aviation and space technology could spur job creation and improve the STEM scores of public school students.
In the mid-1990s, Kentucky was one of the nation’s leaders in aerospace engineering and manufacturing.
To hone that edge, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education has partnered with over 30 schools in Kentucky and Tennessee to shore up math and science scores and “pipeline” students into aerospace fields.
Dr. Tim Smith is the CEO of the institute. He says that increased coordination among state cabinets in focusing on aerospace could accelerate the impact of the student pipeline.
“Over the past three years, we’ve noticed we’ve had 100 percent graduation rate," said Smith. "Not one student has dropped out of school. We’re 17 percent higher on the state average on the ACT, and we meet the benchmarks for college readiness in math and science. We exceed them quite heavily.”
Experts estimate that as of last year, aerospace manufacturing had a $5.5 billion dollar impact on Kentucky’s economy.