The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced an agreement with York College at the City University of New York to provide an aviation-focused weekend and summer education and enrichment program in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for up to 700 students from grades 1 through 12. The program will introduce students from communities surrounding John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to career opportunities in aviation, airport management, and aerospace technology. It is part of the agency’s community development program that is an integral part of the Port Authority’s $19 billion redevelopment of JFK into a world-class global gateway. Applications for the fall semester are now being accepted.
Supported by the Port Authority and each of the agency’s private partners in the redevelopment of JFK (including The New Terminal One, Delta Air Lines and JFKIAT, JFK Millennium Partners, and American Airlines), the Aviation and Aeronautics Academy will be based at the York College campus in Jamaica, Queens. It is part of the JFK Redevelopment (JFKR) Community Development Program and was developed based on discussions with the JFKR Community Advisory Council, which is co-chaired by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
This program will provide Queens students from the communities surrounding the Port Authority’s two New York airports with the STEM education, skills, and training to prepare them for jobs and careers at the airports and in the aviation industry.
“The transformation of JFK Airport into a world-class gateway is also an opportunity to extend the benefits from this historic $19 billion investment to children and teens from the neighboring communities of Queens,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “By partnering with York College and the terminal developers at JFK, we are empowering students to pursue careers in the aviation industry.”
“We look forward to opening doors to the future, not just to our customers, but to the local young women and men who will be able to achieve a career in aviation thanks to the STEM program at York College,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “With ongoing redevelopment at our airports, it is critical that the Port Authority continue to invest in talent from the surrounding communities to help our neighbors take part in the opportunities that these new facilities will present.”
“We are excited to collaborate with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on this important initiative,” said York College President Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes. “As a college, we are committed to fostering access to STEM education enrichment programs for Queens’ youth so they can explore all the possibilities that a career in aviation management offers with York’s state-of-the-art flight simulator on campus and the varied curricula that will be offered to different ages through this new academy. I am confident that we will begin to build a pipeline of future talent.”
The JFKR Aviation and Aerospace Academy at York College will be conducted in three sessions throughout the year. Fall and spring sessions will be offered for four weekends, each enrolling 300 students. During the summer, 125 students will participate in a 4-6 weeklong enrichment program. The curriculum includes themes and hands-on activities related to aviation, science, finance, economics, mathematics, cybersecurity and computer science, drones, and robotics, varying by age group.
Students will be taught in four cohorts – grades 1 through 3, grades 4 and 5, grades 6 through 8; and grades 9 through 12. Students in grades 9 through 12 will receive a $1,200 stipend and will earn three college credits during the summer session. The summer session will be five days a week for four to six weeks, depending on grade.
For more information on the academy, including eligibility requirements, interested parents and students should visit: https://www.york.cuny.edu/aviation-and-aeronautics-academy. The fall 2023 session will begin on Nov. 18, with applications accepted now through Nov. 6.
“We are proud to support the JFK Redevelopment Aviation and Aerospace Academy,” said Dr. Gerrard P. Bushell, president and CEO of The New Terminal One. “The young people in our community represent our future, and it is critical that we expose them to the significant opportunities that are available through the historic redevelopment of JFK. We extend our appreciation to the Port Authority, York College, the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council, and its co-chairs, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, for their commitment to investing in our community’s future leaders.”
“We are very proud of York College and their new Aviation and Aerospace Academy,” said Helena Williams, CEO of JFK Millennium Partners. “Together with the Port Authority and other terminal developers, we will support our local Queens community and the opportunity for young people in the aviation industry where there is a growing demand for new talent.”
“As a local business based in Queens, JFKIAT has a long history of supporting our local community through our 4GOOD program, partnerships with local businesses, and community-focused programs,” said Roel Huinink, president and CEO of JFKIAT. “We are very pleased to partner with the Port Authority and the JFK community to support the Aviation and Aeronautics Academy. This program will provide invaluable education opportunities and cultivate the local aviation job market, ensuring that our community will benefit from the transformation of JFK Airport and preparing our community for the future.”
“The establishment of the new aviation and aerospace academy as a part of the JFK redevelopment program serves as a milestone for the advancement of STEM exposure to our youth,” said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York. “This initiative not only symbolizes a commitment to excellence but also serves as a launchpad for the dreams and aspirations of countless students within our communities. This program brings with it the promise of igniting the passion for engineering and technology in the hearts of students. By providing three sessions throughout the year, students will engage in hands-on activities related to aviation, science, finance, and much more. The academy is certainly poised to shape the next generation of STEM leaders.”
“The $20 billion redevelopment of Kennedy Airport is all about opportunity, including giving Queens’ young people the opportunity to engage with the aviation industry as early as possible,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “As this historic airport redevelopment project takes flight and the aviation industry continues to soar in The World’s Borough, this program ensures our students are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow — that’s what investment in our future looks like.”
“The new JFK Redevelopment Aviation & Aeronautics Academy at York College is long-awaited and welcomed as part of the Port Authority’s commitment to local community development,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie of New York. “The borough of Queens is home to thousands of brilliant young scholars, now given a chance to gain exposure to a wide variety of academic and career pursuits. I am pleased to see this collaboration with JFK and York College/CUNY finally come to fruition. I look forward to additional progress to be made from the Port Authority. I want to thank my colleagues, JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council co-chairs Congressman Meeks and Queens Borough President Richards for their partnership and leadership.”
“The JFK Redevelopment Aviation and Aeronautics Academy provided by York College at the City University of New York is indeed a significant step for the community and those who will benefit from this program in the surrounding areas,” said State Assembly Member Alicia L. Hyndman of New York, co-chair of the Community Advisory Council’s education committee. “This initiative will contribute to the development of the next generation by offering specialized education and enrichment opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. It is encouraging to see the launch of such a program that will support and empower the youth in the community.”
“Expanding opportunities that benefit the residents, small businesses, and communities surrounding JFK International Airport remains a critical component and priority of the JFK redevelopment program,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I’m thrilled that through the launch of the Aviation and Aeronautics Academy at York College, 700 students will have access to STEM programs each year. Creating pathways to careers in the aviation and aeronautics industries are particularly meaningful because Queens is home to New York City’s two airports, and this pipeline will support their growth and success. I encourage all of our young scholars to participate in this new program and look forward to its impact on our southeast Queens communities.”
“I am excited about the JFK Redevelopment Aviation and Aeronautics Academy at York College’s new STEM education program. The boundless opportunities it offers to students in grades 1-12, exposing them to careers in aviation, are truly inspiring. This initiative is more than just an educational program; it’s a gateway to a future filled with endless possibilities,” said New York City Council Member Natasha Williams. “I believe it will not only transform the lives of our students but also positively impact the entire Queens community by fostering innovation and knowledge in the lives of our young learners.”
Redeveloping JFK Airport in Lockstep with the Local Community
In 2018, the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council was formed. It is co-chaired by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and is composed of elected officials, community boards, business and nonprofit organizations, civic organizations, and clergy leaders from the targeted local communities of southeast Queens, southwest Queens, the Rockaways, and western portions of Nassau County.
Since its inception, the council has been working with the Port Authority and its private partners to expand community outreach efforts and develop community-focused programs, ensuring that this ambitious project solicits ongoing feedback from local stakeholders and provides meaningful opportunities for local businesses, minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), students and job seekers. This includes programming to advance the Port Authority’s commitment to a 30 percent MWBE contracting goal in all categories of work and a special focus on opportunities for local businesses across all aspects of the redevelopment of JFK redevelopment, including terminal projects, which will be built by union labor under project-labor agreements.
Other community development initiatives prioritized by the council focus on job opportunities and workforce development programs for residents, small business outreach and development, and educational programming for local students. Specifically, the Council for Airport Opportunity Rockaway Career Center is a job recruiting and referral program to match qualified job seekers with jobs in construction and airport operations focused on the Far Rockaway community. The Office of Second Chance Employment helps connect formerly incarcerated individuals and others with past involvement in the criminal justice system to jobs associated with both airport construction and airport operations. The Institute of Concessions is a specialized training program offering extensive training and mentoring to small, local, and diverse businesses intended to increase the number of local and diverse airport concessionaires.
Transforming JFK Into a World-Class Global Gateway
In January 2017, the JFK Vision Plan was announced to transform JFK into the world-class airport that New Yorkers deserve. The vision plan provides a strategic framework for the Port Authority and its partners to completely redevelop, modify and expand existing facilities and infrastructure. The $9.5 billion development of a state-of-the-art New Terminal One that will anchor the airport’s south side broke ground in September 2022. The $1.5 billion expansion of Terminal 4, led by Delta Air Lines and JFK International Air Terminal (JFKIAT), is now under construction. A new $4.2 billion Terminal 6, which will connect seamlessly with Terminal 5 to create an anchor terminal on the airport’s north side, broke ground in February. Additionally, the $400 million expansion of Terminal 8, led by American Airlines, which operates the terminal, and British Airways, which relocated to Terminal 8 late last year, was completed in November 2022.
All of the privately financed terminal projects combined with the Port Authority’s roadway, parking and infrastructure projects represent a $19 billion transformation of JFK and an extraordinary series of public-private partnerships. The Port Authority’s capital investment of $3.9 billion is leveraging private investment at a rate of nearly four to one when taking into account the full private investment of more than $15 billion that has been committed to the four projects comprising the full redevelopment of JFK.