The JetBlue Foundation will provide three $25,000 grants to schools and educational initiatives that provide STEM and aviation-related programs geared towards underserved groups and communities. The Foundation will also provide support and special consultation to four developing programs to help them expand on fledgling aviation-focused initiatives. The Foundation is continuing the airline's mission to inspire humanity. In addition to grants, the JetBlue Foundation also provides in-kind support, as crewmembers regularly volunteer to make a difference among the next generation of aviators.
Last year, applications were accepted from aviation programs in New York and Florida as both regions are known for having strong and widespread aviation education initiatives at the high school and college levels. This year the JetBlue Foundation opened the application process further by welcoming proposals from programs in New York, Florida, Salt Lake City, the Los Angeles Basin and Chicago, all areas with large aviation-education initiatives.
"We want to help students' dreams take flight. JetBlue, whose mission is to inspire humanity, thought one of these best ways to do so within our industry was to create the JetBlue Foundation. Starting in 2013, the JetBlue Foundation began supporting unique experiences starting at the grade school level to introduce students to STEM education. Fewer than 3 percent of commercial airline pilots are people of color and only 4 percent of pilots are women," said Joanna Geraghty, president, board of directors, JetBlue Foundation. "Through the JetBlue Foundation, we are helping to improve these statistics. We are continuing to put aviation on the map as a career choice for students from all communities and backgrounds. The JetBlue Foundation is making an investment in our children and an investment in the future of our industry."
On December 17, the JetBlue Foundation will host its second annual grant check presentation at a special event in New York and will also provide a one-of-a-kind experience for aspiring aviators, administrators and students. The event will take place at JetBlue's Hangar at Kennedy International Airport and will also include unique education stations highlighting career opportunities as pilots and in technical operations and aircraft maintenance, tours of the airline's newest Airbus A321 Mint aircraft and more.
The JetBlue Foundation's 2014 grant recipients include:
- Organization of Black Aeronautical Professions (OBAP) (Headquarted in Chicago) - Founded in 1976, OBAP's mission is to enhance, advance and promote educational opportunities in aviation and aerospace and to develop and mentor youth. Its main goal is to increase minority participation in aerospace through exposure, training, mentoring and scholarships. OBAP's Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academies provides hands-on experiences that teach topics including the History of Aviation, Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, Air Traffic Control Procedures, and Aerospace Technologies. OBAP will use this grant to provide underserved youth with exposure to STEM career-fields associated within Aviation. The goal is to inspire 14-18 year old students to pursue careers in Aviation. The grant will help underwrite part of the operational costs in expanding the ACE programs in New York, San Diego, Pensacola and Orlando. In a typical year, 800-1,000 teens participate nationwide.
- Utah Valley University (Orem, Utah) - The mission of Utah Valley University's (UVU) Aviation Science is to provide a stellar educational experience which prepares students for successful careers and promotes responsible citizenship in a global aviation environment. The program includes technology-enhanced traditional classroom learning and innovative online delivery methods. Simulations and flight training are integrated with scholarly work to create a complete and well-balanced aeronautics program. This grant will help fund an Airline Dispatcher certification program, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) qualification program and a Flight Attendant training module. UVU intends to recruit new students into the pilot training pipeline to help meet the demand of a potential pilot shortage. Funds provided by the JetBlue Foundation will be used to help establish curriculum, institute courses, and create certification parameters for these qualification programs.
- Wings of Eagles Discovery Center (Elmira, NY) - The Wings of Eagles Discovery Center (WEDC) serves as a regional STEM facility available in person or virtually. WEDC strives to provide outstanding STEM education programs and engagement activities from Kindergarten through the undergraduate level as well as professional development workshops for STEM teachers. The JetBlue Foundation grant will help with construction costs for an interactive STEM classroom as well as field trips for area students to the completed "NIFA-JetBlue Science-on-a-sphere room." The grant will also be used to create curriculum, for a lab focused on creating renewable jet fuels from algae.
This year the JetBlue Foundation will also look to partner with a number of different education institutions to help new aviation programs take flight including:
- Bronx Aerospace High School (Bronx, NY) - This specialty high school focuses on students in grades 9-12.
- Cradle of Aviation Museum (Garden City, NY) - This world-class aerospace museum commemorates Long Island's part in the history of aviation.
- InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico (IAU) (San Juan, Puerto Rico) - IAU's mission is to provide educational and practical experiences, empowering students to contribute positively to the global aviation community.
- Project Scientist (Southern California) - This program engages and empowers girls with a passion, talent and aptitude for STEM.
The JetBlue Foundation will build lasting relationships with these programs beyond the initial grants including mentoring, in-kind support, internships and more. JetBlue supports STEM education though a variety of initiatives. The airline hosts a unique education pathway from relationships with elementary school students and mentoring high school and college students to its University Gateway Program which leads to positions as Pilot Trainees with JetBlue.
The JetBlue Foundation is legally independent from JetBlue and has a separate Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee both made up of JetBlue crewmembers from across the airline. To learn more about the JetBlue Foundation, visit www.jetblue.com/InspiringHumanity.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown AirlineTM, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale/ Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 30 million customers a year to 87 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 825 daily flights. Service to Cleveland will launch April 30, 2015. For more information please visit JetBlue.com.
About The JetBlue Foundation
Founded in 2013, the JetBlue Foundation is committed to supporting aviation-related education in general and Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) in particular, and fostering effective programs that empower and provide opportunities to underserved students and communities. The Foundation will provide learning opportunities for underserved groups by working hand-in-hand with local and national education institutions that support and foster aviation-related programs. For more information, please visit www.jetblue.com/InspiringHumanity.