MILWAUKEE — The Aviation Careers Education Program known as ACE started back in 1989.
"We've had airlines, different service providers, 128th Air Refueling Wing, Cargo companies, they all will take one or more interns and actually put them in hands-on situations," said Harold Mester, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.
The program targets minority students attending Milwaukee Public Schools. It provides leadership training, team-building and a wide range of experiences, including a trip to the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
Brelynn Gayton will be a Junior at Madison High School and interns with the Milwaukee County Fire Department at Mitchell International Airport.
"The experience leading up, I was nervous and then I started getting to know everybody and doing the classroom every Thursday. I really got comfortable and I really love it here," said Gayton.
Camron Moore will be a Junior at Bradley Tech this year and would like a career in police or fire. For the job that he's working this summer you need to be pretty good with numbers and ready to act in the event of an emergency. One of his favorite parts of the job is the training.
"We actually put on all the equipment and we have to go outside the building and fake like it was a burning building," said Moore.
Delta Airlines is a sole participant in the program. Soyata Diallo, a graduate of Milwaukee School of Languages, already started mapping out her career plans as a flight attendant.
"I love to travel, I love learning different ways, different cultures and I feel like there's so much out there I don't know and I just wanna put my hands on it," said Diallo.
And it doesn't hurt that Soyata speaks five languages.
"I speak Marengo, French, English, Spanish and Arabic," she said.
Camille Pierce serves as the Program Coordinator of the ACE Program and was an ACE participant almost 20 years ago. At that time, she had no passion in aviation, but that quickly changed.
"As I marshaled in an aircraft one day, I serviced that aircraft and I met and spoke with a pilot and from that moment that has been my passion to fly planes," said Pierce.
Not only is she helping local students realize their passions she's making her own dream a reality.
"So I continued on and went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, I graduated with my masters degree and I am now at Timmerman Flight Support as a Flight student," said Pierce.
It was the late great Bessie Coleman, the first African-American and Native American female pilot, who said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." The ACE program is certainly providing plenty of that!
Moore couldn't agree more.
"It's a good learning experience. The things that you learn here will carry on with you for the rest of your life," he said.