Denver International Airport (DEN)’s Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation (CEEA) building is breaking ground late 2023.

The airport has a goal to reach 100 million annual passengers. The first pillar, Powering our People, represents the city’s need to build its current and future workforce. To achieve this, DEN is building the Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation (CEEA), a first of its kind in the aviation industry.

CEEA overarching goals aim to serve as an accelerator for economic and workforce development; grow access for underserved communities to build equity into prosperity opportunities; support small minority and women-owned small businesses to increase generational wealth; and prepare current and future employees for a career pathway in aviation industry. In addition, CEFA also aims to create more opportunities for minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to do business at DEN and advance aviation research and innovation that drives best practices with a global impact.

The 66,000 sq. ft. building will be located next DEN’s Jefferson Terminal, above its transit center. The building features a Hall of Equity, which will accommodate up to 300 people, training rooms that can accommodate 200-300 people, multiple lecture halls, and lobby with café for networking.

The Career Pathways program will offer graduated points of entry with the goal of creating an aviation talent pipeline. Career Pathways will be a key component of CEEFA from engaging, educating and proving opportunities for youth through providing training and leadership development to all employees.

DEN’s Career Pathways Program seeks to develop a progressive training model that will attract and retain the current and future workforce; engage, educate, empower, motivate, and provide opportunities for under-represented students and young people are interested in careers in aviation; and cultivate an environment for employees to excel and become further equipped in their technical and professional skills.

Levels within the Pathway include Getting Your Wings, Careers on the Radar, Your Flight Plan, Ascent to Leadership, and Elevated Leadership.

Getting Your Wings is for student and youth programming from K – 8th grade aimed at engaging and exposing youth to career opportunities in the aviation industry.

Careers on the Radar will provide internships and apprenticeship programs for high school/college-age students to gain practical work experience associated with their degree program or related field of study with the goal of convert-to-hire.

Your Flight Plan will leverage existing job shadowing, mentorship and training programs aimed at enhancing employee skillsets.

Ascent to Leadership will target building management and leadership skills for employees.

The Elevated Leadership program will connect senior leaders to external leadership and development offerings and creating internal opportunities to strengthen leadership competencies.