Tulsa's new Aerospace Academy is now open for high school students.
The new option started at Tulsa Tech's Riverside campus, and it's the beginning of a new diploma option for high school students.
Only 18 students are in the first class of the Aerospace Academy. Students like Anthony Jacomine will get a high school diploma and a technical certificate in an aviation field - something normally done only after high school.
"I'm still a high school student and adults have to pay money to do this, so being able to do it for free in the community, it's a great opportunity," Jacomine said.
The program has Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Public Schools on board, with backing from the Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor's office.
Bartlett originated the idea after visiting a couple of cities that already have aviation high schools.
"This is a big, big deal to fill the need we have in aviation and aerospace, to have trained and trainable people," he said.
There's a shortage of people like that, according to Bailey Siegfried with Nordam, who compared the students to airplanes lined up, ready to take off on a career.
“And having more Oklahomans and Tulsans on the runway is better for all industries because these kids will get picked up, they'll come out of high school with a technical degree. It's a big deal for them, and a big deal for us as an aerospace company," Siegfried said.
The first year class is small, but the leaders of it expect to expand as high schools and students hear about the option.
Student Ruqaiyah Hollins said, "So far, in my AM class, we've completed physics, we're working on fluid mechanics right now."
Students at the academy will still graduate from their home high schools but also get a Tulsa Tech certificate in whatever aviation field they choose.
There are six options in the program ranging from pilot, to mechanic, to electronics.
You can learn more about the application process here.