More than 150 of the state’s top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students will engage with companies in Wisconsin’s growing aerospace industry during the first-ever Milwaukee Bucks Aerospace Jam event this fall at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Aerospace Partners, the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation, and the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium are teaming up with the Bucks on the half-day event, which will take place prior to a Bucks game in October or November.

During the Aerospace Jam, high school and college students from 28 academic institutions around the state will have the opportunity to meet with some of the more than 300 Wisconsin companies that serve the aerospace industry and representatives of state colleges and universities to learn more about career opportunities in the industry.

The event will include informational tables featuring colleges and aerospace companies, as well as presentations and panel discussions by industry leaders. It will give high school students the opportunity to research colleges that offer degrees in STEM-related disciplines, while college students can interact with aerospace companies that may be hiring individuals with such degrees.

“Wisconsin is positioned to support the success of aerospace-based companies and the next generation of young people who want to pursue careers in STEM-related fields,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “Wisconsin has over 300 companies active in this industry, and a new partnership that connects them to one another and our universities. Now we need a talent pipeline that keeps pace with this growth, and these students will be the dreamers and doers who make the machines that carry us to the skies.”

“The Aerospace Jam is an excellent opportunity for Wisconsin aerospace manufacturers and suppliers to proactively connect with the best and brightest students in the state,” said Meredith Jaeger, co-founder of AeroInnovate, an aerospace networking and consulting organization that conceived the Wisconsin Aerospace Partners program. “This event is a proactive approach to addressing one of the greatest need gaps our aerospace companies in Wisconsin are facing today: finding qualified talent.”

John Tackis, director of Wisconsin Aerospace Partners, added: “Collaboration between organizations supporting this event demonstrates a collective commitment to filling the talent gap and ensuring aerospace is recognized as a priority industry in Wisconsin.”

“Wisconsin produces over 7,000 STEM graduates each year,” said Kevin Crosby, director of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium. “Many of our students are hoping to stay in Wisconsin after graduating with a STEM degree but are simply unaware of the great in-state career opportunities in aerospace and related fields. This exciting event will demonstrate to our top students that they can pursue a career in aerospace without having to leave the state after finishing school.”

“The Milwaukee Bucks are delighted to partner with WEDC and the other organizations on this great program,” said Carl Manteau, senior director of group sales for the team. “The ability to blend cutting-edge academics and STEM innovation at a Bucks home game is a great opportunity for students from across the state to come together to learn about the importance of this rapidly evolving industry.”

The event is one of several initiatives underway to support Wisconsin’s growing aviation and aerospace industry, which employs more than 24,000 people and generates nearly $7 billion in annual economic activity. Wisconsin has more than 300 companies with ties to the aerospace sector, including more than 140 suppliers to Boeing. From 2001 to 2011, the number of jobs in aerospace parts and product manufacturing in Wisconsin increased almost 57 percent.

The Wisconsin Aerospace Partners support organizations engaged with the aerospace industry in Wisconsin by establishing a strong network and support system designed to grow the economic vitality of the state’s aerospace industry.

The NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, based at Carthage College in Kenosha, is a part of the national network of Space Grant Consortia funded by NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Congress established the program in 1988 to contribute to the nation’s scientific enterprise by funding research, education, and public service projects through a national network of 52 university-based Space Grant consortia.

Lt. Governor Kleefisch serves as the vice chair of the Aerospace States Association, an organization of lieutenant governors and state-appointed delegates dedicated to advancing the economic interests in the aerospace industry. ASA was formed to promote a state-based perspective in federal aerospace policy development and support state aerospace initiatives that enhance student/teacher education outreach and economic development opportunities.