Our Recruiting team is passionate about bringing new talent to GoJet, and has always relied on flight schools, university aviation programs, and technical schools to provide a consistent influx of skilled new hires. However, one of Recruiting’s newest initiatives aims to expose a different group of young people to careers in aviation – high school students.
“Over the years, we’ve discovered that students’ career trajectories are pretty set by the time they’re in their late teens to early twenties,” explains Recruiting Manager Doug Franciscus. “We realized that we needed to plant the seed of aviation as a career path earlier than college.” As part of this new initiative, GoJet recently hosted an Aerospace Engineering class from Liberty Academy in suburban St. Louis at our corporate headquarters.
Students were given a behind the scenes look at airline operations and were exposed to a myriad of different aviation career opportunities right in their hometown. During their visit, students stopped by our maintenance hangar for an up close look at our CRJ700 aircraft, and learned about all of the different departments that work together in our busy ops center.
They also toured our state of the art cabin trainer, which allows our flight attendants to train for emergencies they may face in the air in a realistic, but safe setting. The students even had the chance to observe a cabin smoke evacuation simulation, complete with fake smoke.
The students had studied how airplanes operate during class, and came to the tour with plenty of questions, impressing pilot recruiter Captain Anthony Portalatin, who accompanied the students during their visit. “They really researched our planes before they got here, and were asking the same aircraft component questions that I hear from pilots in ground school,” he remarked. “That kind of proactive behavior is exactly what we’re looking for in future aviators.”
Wyatt and Brendan, two Liberty Academy seniors, both appreciated how the visit tied in to what they were learning in class, while also teaching them about other facets of aviation.
“Seeing the plane up close is a direct correlation to our course,” says Wyatt. Currently a private pilot, Wyatt says that he wants to get into a professional pilot program, and eventually fly for an airline. For him, one of the highlights of the visit was the cabin smoke evacuation simulation. “That was both fun and a learning experience for me.”
After finishing high school, Brendan wants to either enter the Air Force Academy or the ROTC, and eventually become an Air Force pilot. “I didn’t know how much effort really went into the logistics of running an airline,” he confesses. “In class, we’ve been focusing mainly on what goes into aircraft operations. It prepared me for seeing the plane and instruments up close, but seeing how the airline operates was very eye-opening to me.”
After the visit, Captain Portalatin said that he was struck by the impact that something as simple as a school field trip could have on a student’s future. “Seeing a student’s eyes light up from such a hands-on experience is really meaningful. Especially when they realize that it could be a possible career path.”
We hope to see those students from Liberty Academy again – in our crew loungers, in our maintenance hangar, and at our corporate headquarters. We have hundreds of different career opportunities waiting for them.