New opportunities taking “FLIGHT” for students at HBCUs

DOVER, Del. – Delaware Lawmakers celebrated a new bill Friday. The FLIGHT Act strengthens aviation and ROTC programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country. Law makers say that it will open up new opportunities for any student interested in aviation. “It’s not just about pilots. There are all kinds of jobs in the aviation industry. We need people to maintain the aircraft. We need people to be air traffic controllers. We need people to do training,” said Delaware Senator Tom Carper.

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester says that the FLIGHT Act is not only about ensuring funding for aviation programs at HBCUs. It also makes access to education easier and encourages diversity in the armed forces. “In the past, students had to travel to the University of Delaware to participate and we recognize that we have Delaware State University here and Dover Air Force Base right down the road from each other,” said Congresswoman Blunt-Rochester.

Students say that the bill comes as a relief, as it could help them fly higher than they thought was possible. “It was stressful trying to pay for all the fees for flying. That would be stressful because the minuteman scholarship would be for my room and board. Not my tuition,” said Delaware State University Freshman Tajay Kelley.

Lawmakers say that they worked across the aisle to help expand opportunities for students of color aspiring to serve their country. “We’ve always been underpopulated in the armed services in the officer corps with people of color, and there’s a great amount of talent on this campus,” said Sen. Carper.

Those who are going to benefit the most from the bill are the students. Kelley says that he hopes this inspires other students to join aviation programs. “Now I think that more people will join ROTC. Me especially, it makes me more comfortable in joining.”

Kelley says he’s excited about starting his freshman year at DSU. He actually deferred his first year so that he could complete basic training for the National Guard.

To find out more information about the FLIGHT Act, click here.

Categories: Delaware, Education, Local News