The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) has received a $375,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation—one of the largest single-year gifts the nonprofit organization has received.
The funds will support initiatives during the 2022 fiscal year, including OBAP’s Project Aerospace suite of youth programs and the Luke Weathers Flight Academy, OBAP’s nonprofit flight school. It will also allow OBAP to explore the launch of a long-term research study to understand the efficacy of its programmatic model, the organization said in a statement.
“Studies show that by 2029, the aviation industry will have a shortage of 60,000 pilots,” Board Chairman Joel Webley said. “In addition, underrepresented populations are statistically not participating in aerospace careers, particularly in engineering and the aircraft pilot workforce.
“Our goal is to understand how best to address these gaps and provide programming that will lead to a more diverse aerospace workforce in the future.”
He added that the grant “will go a long way to support the execution and advancement of our programs. … We look forward to utilizing these resources to bolster our youth-serving activities and expanding the professional development opportunities for our members.”
OBAP began 45 years ago when a group of 13 Black aviation leaders came together to create an environment from which action could flow to champion greater diversity and inclusion in the aerospace industry. The association reports having about 1,800 members.