Students prepare for aerospace careers at Jasper County CATE Center

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RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — A new program is helping high school students in the Lowcountry prepare for careers in aviation and aerospace engineering.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville High is one of the first high schools in South Carolina to have
17 students pass the Federal Aviation Administration, Part 107 Remote Pilot Exams under Dr. Terry Grant-Robinson.

Grant-Robinson, an Aerospace Engineering instructor and Certified Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot at Jasper County Career and Advanced Technology Education (CATE) Center, participated in intensive online training offered by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) during the summer and fall of 2020 in preparation to teach challenging college and career preparatory courses.

“It has opened so many doors for our students,” Grant-Robinson said, “and it feels great to be a part of that program because I’m giving them the opportunity here in their hometown so they can go out into the real world and actually pursue a career in aircraft.”

Hear more from Dr. Terry Grant-Robinson below:

SREB’s Advanced Career Aerospace Engineering curriculum prepares students for college degrees and careers in the aviation and aerospace field. Each of the four courses in the AC Aerospace Engineering pathway challenges students to work in teams to complete real-world projects that require students to apply academic and technical skills and use industry-standard technology.

The Jasper County School District chose to implement the curriculum based on local workforce needs. Director of Jasper County CATE Center O’Randal Jackson says students learn to their highest capability in the program and are college and career-ready by the time they graduate.

“Once they graduate from our doors, we want our students to go out and be leaders in the community,” Jackson said. “In order to do that, they have to become certified, which we offer here at the Jasper County CATE Center.”

After completing the courses, students will be ready for opportunities in law enforcement, emergency management, photography, real estate, inspections, construction, engineering, forestry and agriculture.

Senior Kimbraia Brown says she’s enjoyed the hands-on experience she’s received in the program.

“It’s definitely a blessing that we’re able to have this in our school,” Brown said. “The flight simulators have the tutorials that teach you how to fly an actual plane, and it takes you step-by-step.”

Students also present projects to local industry professionals. They had the opportunity to receive on-site visits and information from The Boeing Company, visit and tour Gulfstream, Ridgeland-Claude Dean Airport, Trident Tech, and attended hands-on seminars and workshops with AINautics.

“We’ve been working with Ridgeland-Claude Dean Airport and they’ve been giving us the hands-on experience as well,” Grant-Robinson said. “The students go over and speak with the pilots and get a lesson about the aircraft.”

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