DALLAS — Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) announces a partnership with Paul Quinn College to become the College’s official airline and a member of the school’s celebrated Urban Work College Program. Southwest Airlines® has long believed educated communities are empowered communities, and continues to invest in workforce development programs that introduce students to the diverse set of career opportunities in the aviation industry.
Paul Quinn is the first Urban Work College and only minority-serving, federally-recognized work college in America. The program, which started in 2015, provides students with the opportunity to gain real world work experience while limiting their reliance on student loans.
“This is a wonderful moment in the history of the Quinnite Nation,” said Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College. “We are excited for our partnership with Southwest Airlines that goes far beyond discounted tickets and feel-good moments. It is substantive and focused. In addition to supporting the travel needs of our students and staff, our relationship will result in employment opportunities for our students, learning opportunities for the two secondary schools on our campus, and the potential for a very unique academic program. The Southwest Airlines/Paul Quinn alliance will be special.”
Southwest Airlines, in becoming the official airline of Paul Quinn College and first airline in the school’s Corporate Work Program, is investing in the school to promote diverse academic pathways, ultimately inspiring future generations to pursue careers within aviation. This strategic partnership comes at a time when there is a heightened imperative for the airline industry to attract and hire more diverse talent in their workforce.
The Company is committed to building resilient communities through partnerships that drive economic, social, and environmental impact. The partnership between Southwest Airlines and the Paul Quinn Corporate Work Program will include dedicated, paid internships specifically for students at the college along with ongoing educational opportunities. The students selected for a Southwest internship will have the opportunity to work in vital areas of the business such as the airline’s world-class Network Operations Control Center that functions as the nerve center of the airline’s daily operations as well as the Finance Department that oversees budgeting and forecasting for the company.
“We are inspired by the work that is in motion at Paul Quinn’s Urban Work College Program, which aligns with our commitment to developing programs that meet the needs of our diverse communities,” said Laura Nieto, Director of Community Outreach for Southwest Airlines. “We look forward to providing an educational experience for Paul Quinn students and hope they develop a passion and interest in the aviation industry.”
“I am so excited! Transportation is such a big issue for many of our students – myself included. A partnership like this, that invests in us and allows us to peek behind the veil of one of the world’s greatest companies is just remarkable,” said Ericka Drinker, student at Paul Quinn College.
Whether in the air or on the ground, Southwest believes community is more than a place—it is at the Heart of what brings us together. For more about our community outreach efforts, visit southwest.com/communityoutreach.
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