Mobile — Airbus Americas Engineering and United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) have officially announced a series of grants worth nearly $10,000 that will be available during the second year of their education partnership.

Created in 2014, the partnership between the entities was created to invest in community programs and services that improve education in the Mobile region.

Pre-school students line up at Gilliard Elementary School. (Facebook)

Pre-school students line up at Gilliard Elementary School. (Facebook)

“Airbus places a high value on quality education,” said David Trent, a site director at Airbus Americas Engineering. “Our investment will go to programs that help students attending, or who will attend, schools in the area around Airbus’ location in Mobile. These programs will address student needs from pre-school to high school and beyond.”

The programs that have been identified to receive funds this year at the “September Attendance Challenge,” — focus for all of the Mobile County Public School System’s elementary schools; Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for preschoolers in the Dauphin Island Parkway area;
Gilliard Elementary School’s “Take Flight Through Reading,” an accelerated reading program and Jubilee BEST Robotics, Inc., a program at B.C. Rain High School.

“Being a good corporate partner and a good corporate citizen is important to us,” said Airbus Americas President Barry Eccleston. “We are excited to team up with United Way across the country to address the educational goals in the communities where we have a physical footprint. Our investment, coupled with the funds that the Airbus Corporate Foundation has invested throughout the world, will help thousands of students excel in school.”

Larry Davis, who is the CEO of UWSWA, said the education partnership only builds on the support Airbus has already given to southwest Alabama, which includes several volunteer programs.

“We are very thankful to have the opportunity to continue working with Airbus to support programs and services to help our community reach education goals in school readiness, reading and math scores, and, most importantly, increasing the graduation rate in Mobile County schools,” Davis said.

Debbie Bolden is Principal of Gilliard Elementary School, which will receive funding for its accelerated reader program, and she said the funding will help provide her students with incentives to help meet their accelerated reader goals.

“The students were ecstatic when they saw the prizes they could earn, and at the end of each quarter, all students who met their goal were rewarded with a party,” Bolden said. “The celebrations were possible because of the funds we received. Our students strive to make their reading goal and love the recognition and celebrations.”