By Nicholas Gosselin
The future is looking bright for Aviation Science majors at Bridgewater State University (BSU).
A recently signed agreement between BSU, Cape Air Airlines and JetBlue Airlines now serves as a memorandum of understanding to help fast track future pilots into high-level jobs.
“Basically it gives both Cape Air and JetBlue a way to observe, mentor and mold the pilot that will become an employee of theirs in the future,” said Greg Bongiorno, Program Manager of the BSU Aviation Science Department.
This process can take many years of intense time and effort on the part of the pilot, which the gateway program seeks to reduce. BSU is the 6th school to join in a partnership with JetBlue, following highly-recognized schools such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Auburn University and Dowling College.
All of this would not be possible without the recent accreditation of BSU by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (ABBI). It is a 5 year process that was completed in February of this year.
“Typically, when students come to a program at Bridgewater or any flight program across the country, there’s not that clear path on how they’ll get from aviation student to the flight deck,” said Bongiorno. “It’s pretty much a time building process. They graduate, [there’s] a lot of networking, they gain experience on higher-performance aircraft so hopefully, eventually, they’ll be employed by a regional airline and eventually build enough experience and time to get hired by a larger airline, such as JetBlue.”
Aviation students will begin the process in their sophomore year with an interview, after which they will continue with their aviation training until they graduate. BSU encourages its alumni to stay and teach other flight students after they have graduated, which will help build a resume and flight time.
Cape Air will be the aviation students’ next destination, allowing JetBlue to observe their flying skills, professionalism and commitment to their job.
Finally, once they’ve reached the minimum hour requirements to become a JetBlue first officer, and if there is an open position at JetBlue, they could be hired into JetBlue, ideally between the ages of 25 to 27, far younger than any of their peers who do not take advantage of the program.
Students are reacting positively to the news of this program.
“I’m extremely excited, I want to go for an airline job so something like this is obviously extremely beneficial in my future,” said Josue Tejada, a freshman Aviation major. “I think the JetBlue program is great for every individual in the aviation program who is interested in joining the airlines.”
As any college student is aware, job placement after graduation can be a long and tricky process. With the inclusion of BSU into the JetBlue Gateway program, Aviation students can rest assured that they have a good chance at an excellent series of jobs straight out of college, as long as they are willing to devote the time and effort to it.
Nick Gosselin is a contributor to The Comment. Editor-in-Chief Kayla Lemay edited this story. Follow her on Twitter @klemay123 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.