Aviation Careers Education (ACE)

Aviation Careers Education

What is ACE? | How did ACE get started? | Who makes ACE work? | Why is ACE important? | Who are the ACE interns? | Who provides ACE jobs? | What employers say about ACE | What students say about ACE | ACE needs employers

What is ACE?

The Aviation Careers Education (ACE) program is a summer employment and learning opportunity for high school students in Milwaukee. ACE promotes aviation and space education, and provides students experiences in aviation-related jobs. ACE is the result of partnerships between industry, schools and government.

How did ACE get started?

In 1989, affirmative action leaders were asked to develop several programs to address the needs of disadvantaged youth in the Milwaukee Public Schools through opportunities that would benefit the state workforce. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aeronautics appointed a steering committee involving the Wisconsin​​​​ Department of Public Instruction, educators, principals, air transportation industry representatives, aviation enthusiasts, pilots, state government professionals, and airport employees, to develop an aviation-space education program. The Milwaukee Aviation Careers Education (ACE) program was a result of this initiative.

The ACE program is targeted at minority students in Milwaukee Public Schools. Students have joined the ACE program from Rufus King, Carmen, North Division, Bradley Tech, Washington, Ronald Reagan, Pulaski, and Golda Meir high schools, among others. The ACE program has not only been successful in stimulating students to become interested in air transportation careers, but also in developing skills needed to effectively contribute to the workforce.

Who makes ACE work?

ACE is made possible by many individuals committed to providing a meaningful education and aviation work opportunity for students. Among them are businesses, employers, active and retired educators, pilots, airport workers, military and airline employees, and interested persons from other associations and government agencies. Partnerships are the foundation for the success of this program.

Why is ACE important?

  • Promotes aviation/space education, including career opportunities.
  • Encourages students to succeed in school by making class work more meaningful.
  • Gives students experiences in aviation-related jobs, which help them realize that aviation careers are within their reach.
  • Encourages youth to start planning their future, set career goals, and plan how they will get there.
  • Assists employers in developing the next generation of skilled workers in aviation.
  • Promotes collaboration with educators and schools in support of aviation initiatives.

Who are the ACE interns?

  • Milwaukee Public School high school students
  • The program may be expanded to include students from other areas of the state if there is local interest.
ACE Student Baggage​ ​ ​ACE Student Parking

Who provides ACE jobs?

The following employers participate in the program:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • General Mitchell International Airport
  • Menzies Aviation
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing
  • Paradies Gift Shops
  • Signature Flight Support
  • Textron Aviation
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

What employers say about ACE:

  • “We’re proud to be part of this development opportunity.  The industry exposure for the students is invaluable and our employees love being mentors to them.  It also gives us a longer look at potential future employees.  We have several from last year that we are waiting to turn 18, so we can hire them.”  - Matthew Armstrong, Delta Air Lines
  • "The Mitchell International Airport Administration office is pleased to provide an intern experience through the ACE program. The students receive training in many aspects of running an airport, and the airport employees they work with benefit from their enthusiasm and willingness to help." Pat Rowe, Mitchell International Airport Administration
  • "Having an intern seems to bring the regular workers closer together as they seem to take on a big brother attitude." Ken Smith, Signature Flight Support
  • “TSA really enjoys having the interns with us.  The interns are a great help to the workforce and with the passengers.  To see the interns blossom with customer service skills throughout the summer is a great experience.” – Michael Ditlevson, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • “ACE staff have a good eye to choose the right student for all different positions.  They are always very good at explaining to the students what we need from them and always have the right candidate for us.”  - Maria Garcia, American Airlines

What students say about ACE:

  • "A summer of learning that yields a lifetime of experience." - My'Kule, General Mitchell International Airport, IT Department
  • "Being in the ACE program has been an amazing fun learning experience and I'm excited to come back next summer!" - Denee, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • "It was a fun opportunity to meet new people and learn how to work as a team." - Kateasha, Delta Air Lines
  • "Great! Gives kids a chance to earn some money, and see how the 8-hour work place operates." Dareen, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Dept.
  • "It was the best summer job that I ever had…" Frank, Signature Flight Support

ACE needs employers

If you are a business in the Milwaukee area and would like to get involved in the ACE program, please contact:

Olivia Conklin
Aviation Education Program Manager
(608) 266-0775​