The sky is literally the limit for aviation students. Tuesday at JFK’s T5, we celebrated the launch of the JetBlue Foundation. Students from Aviation High School, York College, and SUN ‘n FUN were all in attendance and enjoyed the T5 experience, complete with a tour of our Ops Center and Control Tower. At the event, we issued each organization a $25,000 grant.
No other airline has gone on record to build a foundation solely focused on supporting aviation education. The JetBlue Foundation, a company-sponsored initiative to encourage and advance aviation-related education, will continue our efforts to place aviation top-of-mind as a career choice for students by igniting interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. This year, the JetBlue Foundation provided three $25,000 grants to schools and educational alliances focusing on STEM and aviation-related programs geared towards underserved groups and communities.
JetBlue Foundation 2013 grant recipients include:
- Aviation High School (Long Island City, NY): Aviation High School, the nation’s largest public aeronautical high school, will use its grant to launch an Aviation Welding Improvement Plan to ensure students have the resources to earn an FAA certification as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician. This includes purchasing the advanced technologies and materials needed to prepare students for today’s job market. Over 2,300 students, primarily from under-represented groups, attend Aviation High School.
- CUNY Aviation Institute at York College (Jamaica, NY): With this grant, York College will develop a curriculum to establish an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher Certification program, making it the first public education institution in New York to offer this type of program. More than 82% of the student population is from under-represented groups and 66% of the undergraduate student body is women.
- SUN ‘n FUN (Lakeland, FL): SUN ‘n FUN, a nonprofit organization, will use its grant to further their mission to preserve and enhance the future of flight by purchasing tools and educational items for powerplant mechanic students at Central Florida Aerospace Academy, a high school located in Lakeland, Florida. Students from Traviss Career Center, a vocational training facility, as well as Polk State College will also use these items for STEM-focused education.
The JetBlue Foundation plans to build lasting relationships with these programs beyond the initial grants including mentoring, in-kind support, internships and more. The airline already has an extensive relationship with Aviation High School (AHS). Hundreds of JetBlue crewmembers, including 80+ Technicians, received their start at Aviation High School. JetBlue is also a PENCIL partner with AHS. Several JetBlue senior leaders work with school officials including JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger who is currently working with administrators at AHS through PENCIL. PENCIL connects business leaders and public school administrators to inspire innovation and improve student achievement.
The airline also works with CUNY Aviation Institute at York College to emphasize STEM initiatives with a focus on encouraging women to pursue careers in aviation. Last year JetBlue organized a special charter flight to the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-in & Expo in Lakeland, Florida. The airline welcomed students from schools in New York and Florida with a strong focus on STEM education for a tour of a JetBlue aircraft and to interact with crewmembers during the week-long expo for active pilots and aviation enthusiasts. A group of crewmembers also joined and shared the day with students and aviation enthusiasts from across the country.
To learn more about the JetBlue Foundation, visit www.jetblue.com/inspiringhumanity.