Denver International Airport (DEN) revealed the mockups today of its forthcoming Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation (CEEA), a training center to create an aviation talent pipeline in Denver, especially for under-represented groups and young people. Construction is set to begin in late 2023.
The airport in Denver is the biggest economic engine for Colorado, which means the new facility will serve an essential role in creating business and career opportunities for the community, Mayor Michael Hancock said.
“CEEA is a groundbreaking concept that will be instrumental in developing a skilled workforce of the future that will allow our airport to operate effectively and efficiently during its continued growth,” Hancock said.
The 66,000-square foot facility will be built on Level 4 of the Hotel and Transit Center, making it easy to access Denver’s commuter rail station. The space will also feature a Hall of Equity that is big enough to hold 300 people for training and educational sessions. There will be adjacent rooms of similar capacity, the airport said in a statement. Additionally, CEEA will have a pre-function and lobby space with a small café for networking and small group meetings.
The airport has begun implementing some of the center’s future programs, including a business development training academy to provide small business training for potential airport concession businesses. The airport said nearly 30 business owners have completed and graduated from the program as part of the inaugural session this fall.
The center will also use a progressive training model to attract, recruit and retain students, and will feature a Research and Innovation Lab to spur research and development through partnerships between the airport and local universities.
Phil Washington, who became the airport’s CEO last summer and was also tapped by President Biden recently to become the new FAA administrator, said the facility would serve as a model for the industry for developing aviation talent.
“We are committed to providing under-represented people and businesses opportunities to enter the aviation industry and grow into the leaders of the future,” Washington said. “Through CEEA and our robust programming, we will provide current and future employees the training and tools they need to have a successful career in aviation while helping our small and minority-owned business partners grow and thrive.”