(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

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Maybe it’s the shiny silver wings they pin on kindergarteners visiting the airport for the very first time on a school trip or maybe, it’s the romanticism of air travel and the promise of faraway places. Whatever the initial motivation, some of us have always known we were meant for a career in aviation.

The call of the sky is powerful, it has been since the Wright Brothers seized an impossible dream and refused to let go. Answering a similar call is Van Nuys Los Angeles World Airports and the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Turning Flights Of Fancy Into Aviation Careers

Van Nuys Los Angeles World Airports, through a deep commitment to providing and enriching the caliber of science education for public school students, supports a variety of educational initiatives. The initiatives supported are geared towards fostering interest in aviation-related careers and other science-centric vocations.

One of these is Aviation Careers Education, or ACE, a free, one-week motivational program. The program is given during the summer months to middle school and high school students, who primarily live in neighborhoods surrounding the Van Nuys Airport, or VNY. Offered through the school district, ACE educates kids about the wide range of career options available within the field of aviation and the aeronautical industry. It also provides a birds-eye view of both VNY and the Los Angeles International Airport and how they tick.

Students interested in applying for ACE are required to write an essay and must be able to provide at least one recommendation from a teacher or counselor. Students accepted into the program must have an interest in aviation and display high levels of maturity, self-motivation and integrity as indicated by good attendance and academic ability. Children with diagnosed learning disabilities meeting the program’s requirements are welcome to apply as well.

The dates for summer 2015 are July 13-17 for 7th and 8th grade, and July 27-31 for 9th through 12th grade. To download an application for the ACE program, click here.


A 12-Month-A-Year Commitment

VNY also provides a wide range of year-long educational programs for public school students. These include:


  • Job Shadow Day – This annual program lets high school students “shadow” a mentor as they go about their day-to-day job activities. Geared towards teaching about the myriad of opportunities available at the airport, kids are partnered with a variety of professionals who work there, ranging from accountants to graphic designers.
  • Aviation Career Day and Career Fairs – VNY staff attend off-site career fairs at local schools and also hold a career day at the airport which hosts 1,400 high school students. Career options in aviation and aerospace are examined through demonstrations, exhibitions and presentations.
  • School Reading Program – VNY public and community relations employees tutor elementary school kids in reading by using books about aviation history.
  • LAUSD Aircraft Mechanics Program – Students earn certification in general airframe and power plant mechanics through this program, which is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Consisting of 47 subject areas, the Aircraft Mechanics Program is provided by the North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center at the Van Nuys Airport.


Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.