Tuskegee NEXT project fundraiser to be held at DuPage Airport
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said on Monday that they are holding a fundraiser for the Tuskegee NEXT 2025 Project.
The fundraiser will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive, West Chicago.
The program's goal is to train 100 Chicago-based minority youths in aviation so they can earn their pilot licenses by 2025.
The program will use formal flight training to teach the youths about the aerospace industry. The project includes life skills, mentorships and educational initiatives.
The program draws inspiration from the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black U.S. pilots who enlisted during WWII and overcame prejudice and segregation. The airmen became one of the most renowned and respected fighter groups during the war and led the way for the U.S. military to integrate minorities within the service branches.
“As a result of a lackluster economy and increasing flight-training costs, the aviation industry is at risk of entering an era of unprecedented pilot-staffing challenges,” Stephen Davis, DuPage Airport Authority Chairman, said. “I began to wonder how we could do our part in finding solutions to this challenge, while opening up the door to the aerospace industry to talented, eager, but at-risk children from underserved areas in our own backyard. A model was set many years ago with the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
“We are thrilled to team up with Cook County and the DuPage Airport to provide this one-of-a-kind experience for youth as they explore careers in the aerospace industry,” Cronin said. “We hope to both inspire the next generation and provide important mentoring relationships for participants.”