MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Thousands of students heard the sounds of planes and jets swooshing across their heads Friday morning.
"It's really exciting," said Vivian Giles, a student at Daphne High School.
The first day of the Red Tails Over Montgomery Air Show at the 187th Fighter Wing encouraged students to get involved with science, technology, engineering, and math fields, also known as STEM. It also wanted students to use those skills in the military.
"We have a fifth generation airplane and we need fifth generation airmen. So we need those folks that are going to have that STEM background that are going to be able to work with the technology," said Colonel Ed Casey, the 187th Fighter Wing Vice Commander.
Casey talked about a movement encouraging students to help innovate the U.S. Air Force.
"There's a movement going on right now in the Air Force to empower our young people to bring us those ideas," he said. "Bring us those innovative ideas that are going to help us do our mission even better."
Alabama is attracting the F-35A fighter jet program, NASA and other tech companies. Governor Kay Ivey has been pushing for STEM education to fill future jobs.
"We must train our students in science and technology," Ivey said in 2017.
For example, Governor Ivey announced the creation of the Alabama Aviation Education Center in May of 2017.
"Alabama's aviation and aerospace industries are poised to drive economic growth in the state over the next 20 years. As such, it is important that we prepare for this expansion with game-changing workforce development initiatives; the Aviation Education Center does just that," Ivey said.
In March of 2018 Governor Ivey signed legislation for a the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering to be built in Huntsville.
After the air show Friday, some students might have a future dream in STEM.
"Now I think I might have a job in aviation or something," said Aaron Ziegler, a student at Daphne High School.