Indiana University graduating seniors Mitch Miller and Calvin Page launched their Flight to 48 tour out of the Monroe County Airport Sunday morning, headed out on a mission to spread the word about careers in the aviation field and raise money to help educate high-school and middle-school students about the field.
The duo spoke to WSLM’s Becky White this morning LIVE from New Orleans.
Over the next three weeks, Miller, a native of Zionsville, Ind., and Page, a resident of North Palm Beach, Fla., will fly to cities in all 48 of the contiguous United States to talk about careers in the aviation industry, and raise money for the Indianapolis Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy.
The academy, which is recognized and co-sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration, exposes middle- and high-school students to the aviation industry, and helps prepare them for careers in the aviation field.
With many industries facing the Silver Tsunami of retiring workers, the aviation industry is facing a potential gap inqualified professionals throughout aviation. The ACE Academy and the Flight to 48 pilots are working to address that gap.
With workforce development and transportation listed as two key items on Indiana’s agenda for progress, the ACE Academy brings aviation-industry advocates together with the up-and-coming generation of industry professionals.
“The aviation industry provides a significant number of fulfilling career opportunities beyond being a pilot,” said Page. “There’s an entire aviation-management field that requires engineers, business-management professionals, safety professionals, mechanics, and many more positions.”
The ACE academy provides a hands-on, educational approach to the aviation field, while offering camp participants with the resources to explore post-secondary education and career opportunities. High school-students are offered more career- and college-prep opportunities, such as college visits, etiquette dinner, and resume writing. Students are paired with an aviation professional who serves as a mentor to assist with college and career matching, and the college application process.
“The ACE Academy provides students with the resources and opportunities needed to begin a successful career in an industry that needs them,” said Miller.
This summer marks the seventh year the ACE Academy will host its two camps – one for students ages 10 to 14, and another for students 15-18 years old. Over those seven years, 1,000 students have participated in the camps, with more than 800 continuing into the aviation industry after their high school graduations.
All camp participants are exposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, in addition to aspects of aviation, including history, aerodynamics, and a multitude of careers available in the industry.
Ryan Lynch, a commercial pilot with Republic Airways, founded the ACE Academy after facing challenges finding information and resources to guide him into aviation as a high-school student.
For more information about Flight to 48 and how to donate to the ACE Academy, visit www.flightto48.com
The funds raised will be used to provide summer camps for students ages 10-18, incorporate ACE’s educational curriculum into local school clubs, and create further expansion throughout the country.