TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Officials from Cherokee Nation and the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology announced Thursday a formal educational partnership between the two organizations. In recognition of National Aviation Day on Aug. 19, Cherokee Nation and Spartan College hosted an official signing of the agreement in Tahlequah.
Education and career opportunities for tribal citizens remains a strategic priority for the Cherokee Nation. A focus on STEM, which empowers individuals with the skills to succeed and adapt to the increasingly complex and changing technological world is critical to the success of Cherokee citizens and helping sustain the economy. Through this partnership, the Cherokee Nation and Spartan College are committed to ensuring educational opportunities for students who aspire to be pilots or aviation technicians.
“The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the need for robust collaboration, and with their main campus in Tulsa, we feel this partnership will be a great benefit to Cherokee citizens looking at a career in aviation,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Spartan College is a well-recognized educational institution in the field of aviation that continues to invest in their student experience and will help the Cherokee Nation provide yet another career-oriented training opportunity for our citizens in an exciting field.”
Established in 1928, Spartan College has trained over 100,000 pilots and aviation technicians and currently offers diploma and associate degree programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Aviation Electronics Technology, Nondestructive Testing Technology/Quality Control Management and Aviation Flight. Many of Spartan’s previous students are Cherokee citizens.
“We are honored to become an educational partner for the Cherokee Nation. Serving the Cherokee Nation in this way supports our social mission by providing career-oriented education to high school graduates who may not have had this opportunity,” said Rob Polston, Chief Executive Officer at Spartan College. “We are delighted with the enthusiasm of both the prospective students and the tribal leadership. We have exciting plans to work directly with Sequoyah High School, introducing the Cherokee youth to the possibility of aviation careers and helping prepare them to succeed personally and contribute back to the tribe.”
Additionally, Spartan College has developed a hybrid Aviation Maintenance Technology option that maximizes student flexibility while minimizing time away from home, along with an online Bachelor of Science degree program in Technology Management.
Spartan provided first-hand experiences for Sequoyah High School students in June and for participants in the tribe’s Camp Cherokee program in July, including a chance to tour planes and take a flight while visiting the Tahlequah Municipal Airport.