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HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA: In March, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the recipients of $13.5 million in grant funding, set for distribution across 32 high schools and universities. These FAA grants will fund the creation and development of hands-on aviation programs. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) is one of 12 schools receiving funding through this workforce development program; other institutions in the award include Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, and Purdue University.

A portion of the grant – $4.5 million – comes from the FAA’s Aircraft Pilots Aviation Workforce Development Grants Program.

The Workforce Development Grant Program was initiated in 2018 under the FAA Reauthorization Act to address anticipated shortfalls of qualified aircraft pilots throughout the aviation industry. In its occupational information database, the US Department of Labor predicts “faster than average” growth and a “bright outlook” for fields like Aerospace Engineering and Airfield Operations through 2032.

The remaining $9 million of the FAA grant is earmarked for 20 additional schools identified by the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technical Workforce Development Program. The program’s goal is to close the talent gap in the aviation maintenance industry, which has declined by around 20,000 workers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Harrisburg University’s Albert Sarvis, Associate Vice President of Continuous Improvement and Program Lead of Geospatial Technology, commented on the achievement:

“The FAA has recognized what Pennsylvanians have known for a while: Harrisburg University students can count on receiving a world-class education that prepares them for valuable, high-potential careers. HU graduates are in demand in fields like aviation and advanced mobility because our programs mirror real working environments. We’re grateful for the FAA’s support as we continue to expand our programs to meet federal goals and national needs.”

HU’s Director for the Center for Applied Environmental and Geospatial TechnologyCraig Lewis, continued:

“The nation needs more pilots and individuals with practical training in aviation technologies. With drones, advanced mobility, and remote sensing continuing to entwine and advance, the bar for academic excellence is continually higher. These FAA investments will help us continue to unlock transformative experiences for area high-school students and HU students enrolled in our Bachelor of Science in Geospatial TechnologyEnvironmental Science, and even Forensics programs.”

Specifically, Harrisburg University will leverage this grant to expand its dual enrollment (DE) and College in the High School (CiHS) programs. HU has partnerships with approximately 100 high schools throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states that grant students meaningful, hands-on career preparation, and the chance to earn college credits while enrolled in high school, often without leaving their high-school classroom.

This is not the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has recognized Harrisburg University’s academic excellence through education grants. Pennsylvania school districts that have already benefited from HU’s relationship with the FAA include Warren County, Lower Dauphin, Susquehanna Township, Southeastern, Manheim Township, Halifax, and West Shore. Neighboring states supported through HU’s relationship with the FAA include Maryland’s Carroll County School District.

The foundational content covered in HU’s aviation courses provides a comprehensive, world-class introduction to aviation in general and instruction in cutting-edge mobility, analysis, and transportation technologies such as drones. Students can even learn the basics of how to start a drone business. If your school is interested in partnering with HU to bring sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) education and other STEM programming to your classroom through dual enrollment or college in the high school, please contact HU’s Alex Gibson or Shani Schalles.

Harrisburg University thanks the FAA for recognizing the value of HU’s academic offerings and congratulates the other grant recipients for their ongoing, highly positive impact on the nation’s economy, security, and talent pipelines.


Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717-901-5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.