Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Dean Pinto, for that introduction, and also President Haile for inviting me here.
We are in uncharted, yet exciting, territory with advanced aviation. We have a dynamic industry ready to take on the world with new innovations – and you at Broward College are a part of it.
Your DRONE Project is going to give high school students a hands-on way to learn about the growing drone industry, and how they can position themselves to become drone pilots.
In this region, we’ve seen how drones make a difference. During Hurricane Ian last fall, drones were instrumental when it came to assessing damage and conducting search and rescue.
And in the future, just imagine a drone delivering prescription medications to a person’s door or being used routinely in precision agriculture.
But drones are just the beginning. We’re also looking at electric air taxis, and maybe one day we’ll see them ferrying people from North Perry airport to Miami International.
It’s an exciting new era in aerospace today, and this industry is looking for some major talent.
We’re going to need a lot more pilots, aviation maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers and drone pilots.
And what many people may not know, is that this industry also needs doctors, lawyers, communication specialists, cyber professionals and many other career paths.
We want the ranks of the aerospace industry to reflect the diversity of America.
I want the students to know – it doesn’t matter what you look like, or what your background is, there is a place for you in aerospace. You can accomplish anything; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Building the next generation of aviation professionals is important to me and to the FAA. We have a number of initiatives underway in the agency to make sure this happens.
One of those initiatives is our internship program. Every year we have more than 100 interns working in various offices throughout the agency. If you’re a school administrator, please tell your students about our program. It could be life changing.
It certainly was for me. Just as I was graduating from high school, a guidance counselor encouraged me to apply for an internship in the Department of Transportation’s Congressional Affairs office.
My experience started me off on a lifelong career in transportation, and an internship can do the same for the students here.
There were people there who became my mentors. They helped me learn the ropes. It’s there that I learned a valuable lesson. For every rung in the career ladder you go up, turn around and help someone else climb that ladder.
That’s why I’m so happy to be here. A lot of people talk about recruiting a diverse, next generation workforce. At the FAA, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.
So, President Haile, the FAA is proud to present Broward College with this workforce development grant, in the amount of $500,000.
We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to call on us. Thank you … and I’m looking forward to today’s tour.