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, Governor Thompson called upon his affirmative action leaders 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, North Division, Milwaukee Tech, Washington, Ronald Reagan, and Madison University 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:

  • "It would be selling the program short to call it just an 'aviation internship!' Students are learning and developing critical job readiness skills that prepare them for any career direction. There is a noticeable difference in the confidence level of these students when they interview with us for permanent job opportunities." Tricell Jones, Midwest Express 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
  • "…opportunity to be a good corporate citizen. Students ... will be better prepared when entering the job market or making career decisions." Darwin Samuelson, Northwest Airlines
  • "The ACE intern did such a good job ... he will be hired…" Dan Weber, Milwaukee General Aviation

What students say about ACE:

  • "Excellent program that I would recommend to anyone. I will give up my summer ... just to be in the ACE program again." Demeturia Gray, Midwest Express Airlines
  • "Great! Gives kids a chance to earn some money, and see how the 8-hour work place operates." Dareen Jordan, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Dept.
  • "It was the best summer job that I ever had…" Frank Green, Signature Flight Support
  • "The ACE program is a guaranteed winner ... will help kids decide what profession to go into, and let them know ... they can be successful." Jamie Watts, FAA Air Traffic Control

ACE needs employers

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

Meredith Alt
Aviation Education Program Manager
(608) 266-8166