American Airlines and CR Smith Museum Pave the Way for Future Aviation Professionals with Innovative Education Program
Dallas, TX - American Airlines, in collaboration with the CR Smith Museum, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to nurture the next wave of aviation enthusiasts and professionals. The multi-year "Aviation Career Pathways" program is tailored for middle and high school students, offering them a unique blend of aviation STEM education and a glimpse into the myriad career opportunities the aviation industry holds.
This pioneering program will initially roll out to students from seventh to 12th grade in several Dallas Independent School District schools, with a vision to expand its reach to other schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and potentially nationwide.Advertising
A significant portion of the schools participating in the Aviation Career Pathways program are Title 1 institutions, which primarily serve underserved communities. The CR Smith Museum, an independent nonprofit on American’s Fort Worth campus, has been at the forefront of addressing the challenges these schools face in accessing quality STEM education.
Marie Eve Poirier-Harris, the Education Director at the CR Smith Museum, emphasized the program's unique approach, stating, "Aviation Career Pathways is not just about presentations; it's about creating meaningful connections with professionals and providing hands-on experiences right in the classroom."
The program is structured to offer students between four to seven touchpoints, immersing them in real-world scenarios. These touchpoints span from in-classroom sessions to participation in the CR Smith Museum’s annual Aviation Career Day. A pivotal aspect of the program is the mentorship provided by American Airlines team members, many of whom have personal stories that resonate with the student's experiences.
Karon Washington, an engineer at American Airlines and a key figure in the program, shared his journey, highlighting the importance of early exposure and relatable role models in the STEM and aviation fields. Washington's passion for outreach and commitment to ensuring students have access to role models in the industry is evident in his involvement with the program.
Preliminary feedback on the program is overwhelmingly positive, with a 32% surge in students' interest in pursuing a career in the airline industry after they engage with the program.
Marie Eve added, "Our focus on equity, inclusion, and belonging is making a tangible difference in the lives of these students. Providing them with resources they might not have had access to can be transformative for them and their families."
While the program's current scope is centered around Dallas-Fort Worth, the CR Smith Museum offers many resources for students nationwide, ensuring that the dream of an aviation career is within reach for all.