On October 5, 2018, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. In section 625 of the act, Congress addressed the projected shortages of aircraft pilots in the aviation industry by giving the FAA the authority to establish an Aviation Workforce Development Grant Program to expand the aircraft pilots workforce and provide meaningful aviation education designed to prepare students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators, and support the related professional development of teachers. Congress approved the program through the end of fiscal year 2023.
The aviation workforce development grants for aircraft pilots support proposals that generate interest and prepare students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators. These grants can also be used to support the professional development of teachers delivering eligible aviation curriculum.
Types of Projects
The types of projects supported under the Aircraft Pilots workforce development grants are:
- Create and deliver a curriculum designed to provide high school students with a meaningful aviation education designed to prepare them to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators. Eligibility for this grant project includes the delivery of an existing training curriculum.
- Support the professional development of teachers using the above curriculum.
Congress also directed the FAA to ensure that the applications selected for projects established under this program allow for participation from a diverse collection of public and private schools in rural, suburban, and urban areas.
Section 625 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 identified entities as eligible to apply for the Aircraft Pilots workforce development grants and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020, section 1743, identified an additional category of eligible applicants identified in the last bullet below:
- Air carriers (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102) or labor organizations representing aircraft pilots
- Flight schools that provide flight training (14 CFR part 61) or hold a pilot school certificate (14 CFR part 141)
- Accredited higher education institutions (20 U.S.C. 1001), or secondary schools or high schools (20 U.S.C. 7801)
- State or local governmental entities
- Organizations representing aircraft users, aircraft owners, or aircraft pilots
In keeping with enabling legislation, grant recipients will be selected from the pool of qualified organizations above. The FAA does not have authority to award grants beyond the stated purpose, or to provide scholarships or any form of financial assistance directly to individual applicants, although the selected entities may offer scholarship opportunities as a funded activity. Those interested in direct scholarship opportunities are encouraged to visit the FAA Grants and Scholarships page.
The Aviation Workforce Development Grant Programs appear as a note to 49 U.S.C. 40101. The note material entitled "Aviation Workforce Development Programs" incorporates section 625 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-254), as amended by section 1743 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116-92).
Congress appropriated $5 million for the program for the first time in the fiscal year 2020 budget. The FAA may award between $25,000 and $500,000 (the ceiling established by legislation) for any one grant in any one fiscal year.
This grant program is competitive. The FAA reserves the right to award grants based on the quantity and quality of proposals received in response to the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The expectation is to fund a minimum of 10 proposals. A list of grant recipients will be available on this site following selection.
The FAA will not reimburse any pre-award or application preparation costs or facility construction or research activities.
Match or Cost Sharing
The FAA Workforce Development Grant enabling legislation does not require matching contributions in this program. Individual entities, teams, and new providers can apply for a grant. The FAA encourages applicants to partner with others as appropriate to:
- Satisfy Congressional intent and meet the requirements of the selection criteria
- Reach and include students and educators in various geographic and economic areas
- Help the applicant provide additional opportunities, assistance, and resources to ensure success and sustainability
The FAA has posted the Notice of Funding Opportunity on grants.gov. The FAA intends to only accept electronic applicants. Potential applicants are encouraged to create accounts on grants.gov and can review samples of forms on that website.
Grants.gov strives to ensure site accessibility for all users, and webpages are designed to work with assistive technologies such as screen readers. If you use assistive technology and cannot access any material on our site, please email the grants.gov Support Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-518-4726 . When contacting grants.gov, please include the following information: nature of the accessibility issue, the web address of the content you are attempting to access, your preferred format for the content, and your contact information.
The FAA is accepting applications for this grant electronically via grants.gov through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 22, 2021.