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Alaska Airlines donates $2.5 million to flight museum for education center

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden announces Aerospace Education Center donation at The Museum of Flight. - Ted Huetter/The Museum of Flight
Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden announces Aerospace Education Center donation at The Museum of Flight.
— image credit: Ted Huetter/The Museum of Flight

Alaska Airlines is donating $2.5 million to The Museum of Flight in Tukwila to create the Alaska Airlines Aerospace Education Center.

Funds will be used to renovate existing facilities, support and sustain educational programs, increase staff, expand outreach to underrepresented communities, and enhance financial assistance.

The Alaska Airlines Aerospace Education Center, to be located in the museum's T.A. Wilson Great Gallery, will be a resource center where teachers, parents, and students will be able to explore the many K-12 education programs offered at the museum. Designed to create pathways to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers among young people, the Alaska Airlines Aerospace Education Center will feature state-of-the-art technology resources such as online career planning software, 3-D printers and flight simulators, as well as specially trained staff to serve as "education concierges" to help visitors register for programs, apply for financial assistance, and discover mentorship opportunities.

"Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I saw firsthand the imagination and innovation involved in building new airplanes and flying millions of people through the skies every day," said CEO Brad Tilden said in making the announcement Thursday.

"I'm particularly proud that Alaska Airlines is partnering with The Museum of Flight to continue to spark that imagination in future generations of pilots, engineers and innovators, and others who keep the aerospace and aviation industries marching forward," he said.

"This is yet another important step in our vision to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the world," said Museum of Flight President and CEO Doug King. "It will serve as the educational hub of the institution and an invaluable resource for students and parents alike."

Construction on the Alaska Airlines Aerospace Education Center will begin in September, with completion expected in early 2015.

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