The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) in the ACE Florida Air Museum in Lakeland recently opened a new SkyLab Innovation Center.

Closing the STEM achievement gap is now closer than ever due to an unprecedented and significant milestone recently achieved at the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) in the ACE Florida Air Museum in Lakeland: The opening of a new SkyLab Innovation Center.

This extraordinary achievement is part of ACE’s steadfast commitment to provide curriculum-centric and standards-based K-12 STEM learning with cutting-edge aviation and Aerospace STEM hands-on educational opportunities. The Aerospace Center for Excellence and its main signature building initiative is nationally recognized as a ‘solutions pioneer’ in the worldwide need for a greater STEM-prepared workforce. Furthermore, ACE possesses a particular passion for serving the critical necessity for pilots and aircraft technicians which are required to support the growing aviation and aerospace industry.

“With the opening of the SkyLab Innovation Center,” pronounced John ‘Lites’ Leenhouts, ACE president and CEO, “we’re trying, right here, right now, with no waiting and no excuses, to re-engage the youth of today in STEM learning opportunities so that they are excited by the sciences and not to be afraid of them. With the opening of the SkyLab Innovation Center and the STEM aerospace education programming offered on the ACE campus, students can reconnect to STEM aerospace education with a love of learning and quickly realize that the aerospace industry has a plethora of opportunities well beyond just flying and fixing.”

The center, which opened last month, marks the world’s first-ever purposely built, hands-on aerospace learning facility which will engage, educate and accelerate young women and men into successful careers.

The ACE education campus blueprint has expanded significantly in the 47-year history of the organization, maturing into a clear and purposeful mission to engage, educate and accelerate the next generation of aerospace professionals. In fact, ACE is the only blueprint for STEM aerospace education of its kind in the United States. Innovative and inventive, ACE is changing the very fabric of STEM aerospace education in America. ACE and its STEM aerospace education offerings are so well regarded that other aviation and aerospace museums and science discovery centers are beginning to contact ACE for support in starting their own STEM aerospace education opportunities.

The ACE SkyLab and ACE Florida Air Museum hours are currently Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, 12 Noon-4 p.m. For more information, visit The museum is located at 4175 Medulla Rd. in Lakeland on the Lakeland Linder International Airport.

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