Approximately 30 Cadets with Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy's Class 52-19 attended a Young Eagles and Tuskegee NEXT rally April 6 at Lewis University's Aviation Training Facility in Romeoville, Illinois.
The rally aims to expose high school age youth to aviation as a career option, showing them the different areas where jobs are needed and the experience of flying.
"The aviation field is in critical need of pilots and technicians in the years to come," Duane Hayden, vice chairman of Tuskegee NEXT, said in a news release. "This whole event is designed to engage the interest and spark the imagination of our young men and women."
Hayden a colonel in the Illinois Air National Guard said it was the military service of family members as well as the model airplane he received as a gift that inspired his life long career in aviation operations in both in the military and civilian sector. In 1994 he met Milton Williams, an original Tuskegee Airman and a pilot with the Young Eagles.
"When I met Milt at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I was a young Air Force lieutenant, I had never heard of something like this and immediately when I understood what their mission was, I became a member," Hayden said in the release. "Inspiring young minds to fly, especially youth in the inner city in Chicago and helping them along is what inspired the creation of Tuskegee NEXT and this rally."
Hayden said the rally includes classroom discussions from subject matter experts and orientation flights provided by pilots with Young Eagles in conjunction with the Experimental Aircraft Association.
"We give them insight with those with experience in the field and we have them go into the air to show them that thrill of flight," Hayden said in the release. "For many this is their first time flying."
Since attending beginning in 2017, LCA Cadets have been able to learn more about the Aviation career field.
"As a life skills program we encourage Cadets to learn about career fields and their pathways," Michael Haerr, director of Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy in Rantoul, said in a release. "We want our cadets to have goals for their futures after graduation and solidify the education and skills required to be successful in the careers they choose."
Haerr said this is one of the many events the Academy attends to encourage Cadets to learn about different career pathways.
"Learning about the opportunities out there, being able to attend a rally like this and combining this new knowledge and experience helps inspire our young men and women to achieve," Haerr said in the release.
Cdt. Anury Carreto, with Class 52-19 said the event was informative and gave him insight in the career path.
"I never really thought about being a pilot or aviation as a possible career," Carreto said in the release. "After attending this rally, I really what to look into becoming a pilot."
Haerr said the Young Eagles and Tuskegee NEXT rally has been a career pathway tool in the education of LCA Cadets toward aviation careers.
"This rally is a great event, our cadets get information from aviation experts and are shown what types of jobs are out there for those who want to take that path," Haerr said in the release.