Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Aviation Careers Education (ACE)

Aviation Careers Education (ACE) logo

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?

Aviation Careers Education (ACE) is a summer employment and learning opportunity for high school students. ACE promotes aviation and space education, offers extracurricular activities 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. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation; Bureau of Aeronautics appointed a steering committee involving Department of Public Instruction, educators, principals, aviation enthusiasts, pilots, state government professionals, airport employees, and air transportation industry representatives, to develop an aviation-space education program. The Milwaukee Aviation Careers Education program (ACE) 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 McNair Elementary, Jackie Robinson Middle School, North Division Milwaukee Tech, Washington, Rufus King, Madison University High Schools, and 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 become productive members of the workforce.

Who makes ACE work?

Numerous individuals interested in making education more meaningful are the backbone of ACE. 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.

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Why is ACE important?

  • Encourages students to stay in school by making class work more meaningful.
  • Promotes aviation /space education.
  • Offers extracurricular activities to keep students productively occupied.
  • 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 goals, and realistically plan how they will get there.
  • Gives educators training and experience, which enables them to infuse aviation/space concepts into cross-disciplinary curricula including science, mathematics, social studies, technical education and language classes.

Who are the ACE interns?

  • Milwaukee Public School students
  • The program will be expanded to include students from other areas of the state in the future.
Operating a tow vehicle Handling luggage from an airliner
Performing maintenance on an airliner Handling luggage from an airliner
Performing maintenance on a jet engine Operating a refueling truck

Who provides ACE jobs?

Employers include, or have included, the following:

  • Aircraft Service International Group (A.S.I.G)
  • General Mitchell International Airport- IT Department
  • 128th Air Refueling Group
  • Continental Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Paradies Gift Shop
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • U.S. Airways
  • Signature Flight Support
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

What employers say about ACE:

  • "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
  • "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
  • "…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

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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 or Madison area and would like to get involved in the ACE program, please contact:

Karen Broitzman, Aerospace Education Manager, karenl.broitzman@dot.wi.gov 
(608) 266-8166

For current ACE activities:

Forms and documents

Event dates

  • No events are scheduled at this time.

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Related aeronautic links:

Questions about the content of this page:
Karen Broitzman, karenl.broitzman@dot.wi.gov

Last modified: February 28, 2014

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