Denver International Airport (DEN) in Colorado has revealed the conceptual renderings for its 6,100m2 aviation training center, named the Center of Equity and Excellence in Aviation (CEEA).
The center is intended to give under-represented and young people opportunities for future careers in aviation. It will be constructed on Level 4 of the airport’s Hotel and Transit Center, which has access to the commuter rail service to downtown Denver. The focal point of the space will be the Hall of Equity, which will accommodate 300 people for training and educational purposes. Other adjacent lecture halls and training rooms will accommodate another 200-300 people. There will also be a pre-function and lobby space with a cafe for networking and small group meetings.
Construction is set to begin in late 2023. CEEA is being designed by minority-owned firm Studio Completiva, which was awarded the design contract through Stantec. Sky Blue Builders is the Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) general contractor for the project.
DEN will also launch a Research and Innovation Lab in the CEEA space. This is intended to enable the airport to partner with local universities to conduct aviation research, identify best practices and adapt new and existing technology systems to improve the aviation industry. The airport intends to seek out speakers and lecturers to present current and future aviation trends.
DEN has already begun implementing some of the CEEA programming, including a Business Development Training Academy that provides small businesses with the training and support they need to grow and thrive at DEN. Specifically, the program will provide a systematic approach to entering DEN as a subcontractor in construction, professional services, goods and services, and concessions. Approximately 30 business owners have already completed and graduated from the program as part of the inaugural session held in 2022.
The airport has also set up its Career Pathways program to create a pipeline of aviation talent through a progressive training model designed to attract and retain the current and future workforce. There are opportunities for students to get involved in the DEN Academy, internships, tours and much more. In addition, there are training and development opportunities for the airport’s current workforce.
The CEEA is part of the US$1.3bn Great Hall Completion project, which includes building a second Level 6 security checkpoint on the northeast side of the terminal, constructing the remaining ticket lobbies on the south end of the terminal and creating new meeter/greeter spaces on the south end of Level 5 and near international arrivals. Once the entire Great Hall project is complete, there will be two security checkpoints on Level 6 as well as new ticketing lobbies for all airlines, providing enhanced security, increased capacity, improved operational efficiencies and an elevated passenger experience.
Phil Washington, CEO of DEN, said, “CEEA will be the industry model for developing aviation talent. We are committed to providing under-represented people and businesses with opportunities to enter the aviation industry and grow into the leaders of the future. Through CEEA and our robust programming, we will provide current and future employees with 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.”
Mayor Michael Hancock said, “DEN is the biggest economic engine for Colorado, and that comes with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to help fuel the creation of business and career opportunities for those in our community. 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.”