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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Johnna Kelly 630-407-6022

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tuskegee NEXT Takes Off at DuPage Airport

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are co-hosting a fundraiser to support the Tuskegee NEXT 2025 Project at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive, West Chicago.

Tuskegee NEXT will train and support 100 Chicago-area minority boys and girls as they work to obtain their pilot’s license by 2025. Participants will learn about the aerospace industry through formal flight training programs, educational initiatives, life skills and mentorship collaborations.

The program is named after the Tuskegee Airmen who enlisted to become America’s first black military airmen who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of World War II’s most highly respected fighter groups. The achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for comprehensive integration of the U.S. military.

Cronin said DuPage Airport provides the perfect setting for this unique learning opportunity.

“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. We hope to both inspire the next generation and provide important mentoring relationships for participants,” said Cronin.

DuPage Airport Authority Chairman Stephen Davis said the idea originated from a conversation about a potential pilot shortage.

“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. 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,” said Davis.

For more information about Tuskegee NEXT 2025 and the Feb. 26 fundraiser, visit