NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some East Haven students will participate in the nation’s first-ever middle-school-focused Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Program at Tweed-New Haven Airport.

Tweed-New Haven Airport, Avelo Airlines, East Haven Public Schools, and Boy Scouts of America’s Connecticut Yankee Council kicked off a five-month partnership Tuesday to expose kids to the aerospace industry.

“That fire inside all of us is sometimes started by a spark, and sometimes it’s started by a bolt of lightning,” Avelo Airlines Head of Safety and Operational Excellence Michael Quiello said. “Our job is to make sure we fan that fire and not put it out.”

Up to 50 East Haven’s Joseph Melillo Middle School and East Haven Academy will be accepted to the ACE Program.

“What’s happening here today exemplifies the power of these partnerships,” East Haven Public Schools Superintendent Erica Forti said. “And the programming opportunities that will afford you, our students, exposure to the many aviation careers and pathways available to you right here in your own backyard.”

Officials with Avelo said it is the first middle school aviation curriculum like this in the country. They are hoping to raise some homegrown talent right in their own neighborhood.