Cleared for Takeoff: Junior Achievement City in SLC gets model air traffic control tower

SALT LAKE CITY — Officials from Hill Air Force Base helped open a model air traffic control tower in Salt Lake’s Junior Achievement City April 10.

In JA City, the tower is part of an interactive learning environment where students participate in real-life careers in business, government, utilities, and now, the United States Air Force.

The city is run by Junior Achievement of Utah an organization whose goal is to: “Give students from kindergarten to high school the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices. Founded in 1919, JA currently reaches more than 4.8 million students per year across the United States.”

More than 16,000 5th graders visit the Junior Achievement City every year and Hill Air Force Base’s STEM Outreach Program has been working with the program for several years to help increase the amount of curriculum focused on science, technology engineering and mathematics.

“We really wanted to create something that promoted STEM careers and also represented the strong connection between Hill Air Force Base and the community,” said Alison Sturgeon, manager of the STEM outreach program at Hill.

While the model air traffic control tower is a visual representation of Hill, the students will be working as computer scientists and pilots. Two jobs that are critical in today’s Air Force.

“Aircraft don’t fly without pilots and software. At Hill Air Force Base alone we hire nearly 200 computer scientists each year,” Sturgeon said. “Getting students interested in STEM careers early is very important and we are excited to have this tower be a part of JA City.”

Hill’s STEM program has also helped fund and promote several summer STEM camps for students at JA City.

The city is located in the Gateway Mall located near the Clark Planetarium at 444 West 100 South in Salt Lake City.

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