Aaron Lenkersdorfer | Staff Writer
Utah Valley University has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the JetBlue Foundation. In December, Jim Green, chair of the aviation department, applied for the grant which was designed to provide funding to further develop underserved groups within the aviation and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) communities. UVU was one of only three schools to receive a grant from the JetBlue Foundation for this application period.
Once the grant had been offered, an invitation was extended to travel to New York to attend the award ceremony. Two administrators and eleven students represented the university. This group was given the opportunity, while in New York, to tour the JetBlue facilities at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“In the grant they stipulated that the money must be used specifically for developing an airline dispatcher certification program with special consideration being given to less advantaged groups, which fits with UVU’s diversity quest,” said Green
Airline dispatchers are industry professionals who are essential to the success of airline operations. They work behind the scenes to support flight operations by creating flight plans, monitoring weather, calculating aircraft weight and balance, and working in close cooperation with flight crew to ensure that pilots have all necessary materials available to them in order to safely fly the aircraft to its destination.
“We are already working on the courses that will need to be conducted and we hope to offer some of these classes starting perhaps as soon as the next academic school year,” said Green
This new program will be a strong addition to UVU’s aviation department. The program currently consists of a Bachelor of Science in aviation science with either an aviation administration or professional pilot emphasis, and two additional aviation science degrees as either an Associate in Applied Science or Associate in Science.
“The development of the airline dispatch certification program is a step forward for the aviation department, because it opens up another avenue for students who are interested in the aviation industry, but don’t want to pursue a career as a pilot or in an administrative capacity,” said Taylor Jones, a current student in the aviation program.
Whether looking at the airline dispatch certification program from the perspective of a student, or that of the university, it is evident that it will become a valuable instrument to further higher education and the aviation industry alike.