ILM Co-Hosts Middle School Students at Aviation Career Education Academy, Showcases Careers in Aviation & Inspires Future Workforce

This week, the Wilmington International Airport, in partnership with Cape Fear Community College, hosted middle school students for the first Aviation Career Education Academy.

The Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy is a program that supports aerospace workforce development through aerospace and aviation career-focused summer academies, with a goal to inspire young people to explore and pursue the many rewarding careers available in the aerospace sector. The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation helped sponsor the ACE Academies and ILM was awarded funding to support two camps this summer, one for Williston Middle School and the other for West Pender Middle School. 

“We are so excited to partner with ILM and Cape Fear CC on these academies,” said Division of Aviation Director Bobby Walston. “These academies are a significant part of our push to encourage the next generation to become aware of the current and future job opportunities in aviation.”

This week kicked off the ACE Academy, which was a collaboration between ILM and CFCC.  New Hanover County School students, primarily from Williston Middle School, had a chance to explore the diverse array of aerospace and aviation careers through hands-on experiential learning at CFCC’s North Campus and at the Wilmington International Airport.  Students toured the airfield and airport, participated in a drone scavenger hunt, explored flight through a flight simulator, toured aircraft, learned about aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft maintenance, and about being a pilot.  Campers also learned about the different types of aviation such as commercial, business, and general aviation.  Partners of the ACE Academy included: Wilmington International Airport, Cape Fear Community College, N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation, Federal Aviation Administration, Aero Center Wilmington, Modern Aviation, Transportation Security Administration, American Airlines, Live Oak Bank, and the Cape Fear Flying Club.

“It was a lot of fun to show the middle school students the vast array of opportunities in the aviation industry.  I’m thankful to our community and airport partners that collaborated with us on this camp and helped showcase the diverse careers possible in aviation,” stated Jeffrey Bourk, ILM Airport Director. 

ILM and academy partners hope that by participating in the ACE Academies, students gain understanding of the wide variety of careers in aviation and the paths to obtain them. 

Media Contact:                                                                                             
Erin McNally
Marketing, Air Service Development, & PR Manager


About the Wilmington International Airport: The Wilmington International Airport serves southeastern North Carolina with commercial air service on American, Avelo, Delta, and United.  These air carriers provide nonstop service to twelve markets, connecting travelers to over 360 destinations.  Avelo Airlines, ILM’s newest carrier is set to begin nonstop service to New Haven, CT, Orlando, FL, and Baltimore Washington, DC June 30th and July 1st, respectively.  Earlier this year, United launched nonstop service to Newark airport, American increased nonstop service to Boston on a daily seasonal service and resumed seasonal service to Chicago, and Delta announced an increase to daily seasonal service to LaGuardia.  In May, ILM set a record for the number of enplanements at ILM.  The NCDOT Division of Aviation’s 2020 report estimated ILM’s economic impact at $2.25 billion and 16,385 jobs.  For more information on ILM, please visit