Kent State University Airport Reaches Out to the Community
The Kent State University Airport is best known as a place where future pilots are trained, but its staff also makes sure the facility is beneficial to the community. From community programs to tours to safety training for local emergency responders, the airport engages in outreach with the cities of Kent, Stow and surrounding areas.
David Poluga, Kent State University Airport manager, says there is a mutual benefit to working with the community. Many people, even if they are not involved in aviation, are curious about the airport.
“I think, in general, people want to know what’s going on in their community,” Poluga says. “A lot of groups, even if they aren’t related to aviation, see how flight impacts their lives and that there is a general lure and mystique about aviation that people want to be involved with.”
One way the airport works with the community is by providing tours to groups, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and area schools. The airport also provides 16-week internships to local high school students, giving them a first experience in the industry and teaching them important life skills.
“We work with students to develop life skills, such as the importance of showing up on time, what it means to wear a uniform and the daily expectations that a lot of people take for granted but that are very important when it comes to living independently,” Poluga says.
In addition to working with school groups, the airport works with Ageless Aviation, sponsored by Great Clips and Mulberry Gardens Assisted Living Center in Stow, to give veterans an opportunity to fly in a biplane.
Local K-9 units, fire departments and first responders use the airport for training and certification. The airport provides a diverse location for training with large fields, people moving in and out and partitioned spaces. In 2016, the airport worked with 45 full-time fire department staff members from the Stow Fire Department to collaborate for training on future programs.
“When working with emergency responders, we are helping to make sure they respond quickly and efficiently in the case of an emergency,” Poluga says. “And since we are members of the community, we want to make sure we work well with everyone.”
For more information about programs or to set up a tour of the airport, contact David Poluga at email@example.com.