More than 30 second-grade students from Pittsburgh Faison K-5 toured PIT on May 21 including the Art in the Airport program, the baggage system and PIT’s fire department. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

Second-Graders Land at PIT to Explore Aviation Careers

More than 30 second-grade students from Pittsburgh Faison K-5 toured Pittsburgh International Airport recently and learned about the Art in the Airport program, the baggage system, PIT’s fire department and much more.

What is it: Getting Ready for Takeoff is a program hosted by the Allegheny County Airport Authority that educates elementary students on careers in aviation as part of its commitment to equity and inclusion and strengthening community engagement.

  • Airport employees from 10 departments—all part of ACAA’s Leadership Development Program—served as docents and taught mini-lessons on different operations at the airport.
  • Those same employees visited with fifth grade students at Faison K-5 in the spring, sharing details about their jobs and answering questions from students.
  • There’s also a Ready for Takeoff Program for eighth- and ninth-graders.

Why it matters: For some of the second-grade students, this was their first trip to PIT. Exploring different jobs at the airport and meeting the men and women who do them gets kids thinking about careers in aviation.

  • “As they think about which classes I want to take, I want the little girls to know that they can pursue STEM, that they don’t have to be afraid of it,” said Alicia Booker, ACAA Director of Workforce Development, referring to studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “I want the little boys to know there are people all throughout the airport that are just like them.”

What they’re saying: “The more exposure they get to other things in the world outside of their community and what they are used to, the better,” said KTohri Ross, second-grade teacher at Faison K-5.

  • “This is not just a one-time stop for us; we really have an investment in the Pittsburgh community and specifically in Faison Elementary,” said Booker.

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