Last month, our Miami International Airport (MIA) team partnered with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) during their annual ACE Academy program. Spanning over a week, the summer program is designed to teach kids about careers within the aviation industry through hands-on experience with experiments, classroom lessons and field trips.
At MIA, the ACE Academy program toured the Envoy operation where they were able to watch a pre-flight inspection. During the tour, guest speakers shared their experience in a variety of careers throughout the industry, such as dispatch and engineering.
After a week of learning, the program finished up with a special “FLY Day.” This is many of the participants’ first time flying in a plane, and is often what sparks their passion for aviation.
Lead by example
This special opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the support of everyone involved, including MIA Chief Pilot Fred Delfilippo, Regional Operations Manager Ladisluz Lopez, Flight Operations Manager Stephanie Gautreaux, Flight Operations, and other American Airlines employees at our MIA hub.
Captain Clayton James also played a huge role in making this event a success. When asked why he participated, Clayton said that he hoped to be an example and a resource for kids looking to go into aviation.
“I didn’t have this level of exposure to the field, a view of how to make it to where I am today,” Clayton said. “I want to show these kids that there are so many ways to get into aviation, regardless of their background.”
By sharing his story, he uncovered all the possibilities for their careers and encouraged them to realize their dreams. Clayton said he “believes in investing in the next generation of aviation professionals to take the sky.”
Programs like the OBAP ACE Academy are so valuable for the younger generation. Kids get to see that there are organizations, groups, and companies that want to invest in their future. Hopefully, the kids came away from their MIA field trip with a newfound confidence that they too can be a part of the aviation industry.