Denver International Airport (DEN) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 13 for the Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation (CEEA). The first-of-its-kind training center will help create a pipeline of aviation talent for the entire community in Denver and the aviation industry with a concentration on under-represented communities, historically underutilized business, people of color and women. CEEA fosters building generational wealth, establishing career pathways in the aviation industry, and serves as an innovation hub that will influence our global community.
“DEN continues to play a vital role in driving the economic growth of the Rocky Mountain region, generating over 36 billion for Colorado’s economy and supporting over 220,000 jobs,” Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said. “I am proud to work with DEN CEO Phil Washington and his team who are working to create opportunities in aviation but especially for the under-represented members of our community including our minority-owned businesses. This forward-thinking inclusive concept will ensure the Mile High City and DEN will thrive for many years to come.”
CEEA is playing an important role in developing a talented workforce for the aviation industry in Colorado, and their training facility will serve as an inspiration to other airports worldwide. As Denver grows, we need to be mindful of the needs of under-represented and younger generations, and make sure that equity, diversity, and inclusion remain a top priority.”
CEEA is being constructed as part of the Great Hall Program and will comprise of about 38,000 of 66,000 square feet of space on Level 4 of the hotel and transit center (under the Westin Hotel). The focal point of the center is the Hall of Equity, which will accommodate approximately 300 people for dynamic training and educational purposes. Other adjacent lecture halls and training rooms will accommodate another 200-300 people. A pre-function and lobby space will also have a small café for networking and small group meetings.
The buildout of this space will allow DEN and Denver to develop its aviation workforce, provide small and minority businesses with the tools to succeed and allow DEN to lead the aviation industry in research and innovation.
Through CEEA, DEN is committed to providing opportunities for underrepresented individuals and businesses to enter the aviation industry and rise as future leaders.”
Phil Washington, CEO, DEN
“In developing aviation talent, CEEA aims to be the industry model,” DEN CEO Phil Washington said. “Through CEEA, DEN is committed to providing opportunities for underrepresented individuals and businesses to enter the aviation industry and rise as future leaders. With CEEA and its comprehensive programs, employees will receive the necessary training and tools for a successful career in aviation while supporting minority-owned small businesses to grow and prosper.”
While construction is underway, DEN has already begun the CEEA programming, offering a wide variety of training and development opportunities. CEEA programming consists of the following:
Business Development Training Academy: A program that provides small businesses the training and support they need to grow and thrive at DEN. Specifically, the program will provide a systematic approach to entering DEN in the areas of construction, professional services, goods and services, and concessions. Nearly 60 businesses have already completed and graduated from the program as more programming coming in 2024.
Career Pathways: A program that creates a pipeline of aviation talent through a progressive training model that will attract and retain the current and future workforce. There are many opportunities for students to get involved including DEN Academy, internships, tours and much more. In addition, there are training and development opportunities for our current workforce aimed at building future leaders for the aviation industry.
Research and Innovation Lab: The lab will be located in the CEEA space and will allow DEN to partner with local colleges and universities to conduct aviation research, identify best practices and adapt new and existing technology systems to innovate and advance the aviation industry. DEN intends to seek speakers and lecturers focused on presenting current and future aviation trends and fill leadership voids.
Click here to learn more information about CEEA and its programming.
The design of CEEA is being led by Studio Completiva and construction by Sky Blue Builders. This project provides both firms an opportunity to take more of a leadership role and gain some significant experience that will allow them to each grow as a company.
The Great Hall Program aims to enhance security, improve the operational efficiencies, and elevate the passenger experience with the airport’s terminal. As part of the Program, two new state-of-the-art security checkpoints are being built, new ticketing lobbies are being constructed as well as new meeter/greeter space on the south end of Level 5.
Watch a video of the ceremony produced by El Semanario here.
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