October 3, 2013 Atlanta: Julius Alexander, founder of Aviation Career Enrichment (ACE) coaches student Cayman Howard, 19, in for a landing Thursday October 3, 2013. ACE begin in 1980 as a way to introduce disadvantaged, at-risk and minority youth to aviation opportunities. To date Alexander has instructed 171 students to their first solo flight. BRANT SANDERLIN /BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson introduces bill to create grants for minorities in aviation

U.S. Rep Hank Johnson has introduced a bill to create grants for minorities in aviation.

If approved, the grant program would be administered by the Federal Aviation Administration and named for Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to get a pilot’s license.

The grants would be used to increase exposure and access to aviation-related education and jobs through internships, programs to introduce students to unmanned aircraft operations, programs that teach technical skills for aviation maintenance, and programs to increase recruitment and retention of under-represented minorities in aviation degree programs.
The program would cost $5 million a year.

Johnson said in a written statement that minorities are under-represented in aviation, and he said the program could encourage minorities to enter good careers and bolster the aviation workforce.

“Being home to the world’s busiest airport Hartsfield-Jackson – with its myriad of aviation career opportunities – makes this bill all that more important,” Johnson said in the statement.

The Minorities in Aviation Education Act, H.R. 6005, was introduced Wednesday and goes to the U.S. House transportation committee for consideration.

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