History was made yesterday as Southwest Airlines announced its newest partner: a Dallas-based college. Paul Quinn College welcomed the airline as its official airline and a new member of the college’s Urban Work College Program.

Dallas-based Airline Announces Historic Partnership With College

Paul Quinn College is a registered Historically Black College and University (HBCU) which is based in Dallas – the birthplace of Southwest. This connection definitely had a part to play in the airline’s most recent partnership with the institution. Holding the community’s values and efforts close, Southwest Airlines continues to champion the education and empowerment of the community with development programs that introduce the world of aviation to students.

Michael J. Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College, spoke of the excitement and optimism that the airline’s newest partnership has brought the college in a recent statement:

“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.”

Three people stand before celebratory banner, one holds Southwest aircraft model.
The Urban Work College Program is the first of its kind in America | © @michaelsorrell via Twitter

Airline’s Newest Partnership to Help Community Projects

The college’s Urban Work College Program aims to provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience without the concerns of relying on student loans. Paul Quinn is currently the only Urban Work College in America.

The partnership with Southwest Airlines will give students at Paul Quinn the chance to explore all the potential job opportunities within the aviation industry, opening up the choices of academic pathways for many. The partnership will also help introduce more people of colour, specifically black people, into the aviation sector as a prominent lack of diversity has been identified in many areas within airlines.

The historic partnership will include paid internships for students from the college. Once admitted to the Southwest Internship, the selected students will be able to work in areas such as the Network Operations Control Center and the Finance Department. In the former, students will be able to witness the core of the airline’s daily operations.

Laura Nieto, Southwest Airline’s Director of Community Outreach, had this to say in a recent statement about the internship offers:

“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… We look forward to providing an educational experience for Paul Quinn students and hope they develop a passion and interest in the aviation industry.”

What are your thoughts on Southwest becoming the official airline of Paul Quinn College? Let us know in the comments below!

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