By Rich Bockmann
A pair of borough schools will receive $25,000 each to help turn out Queens’ future leaders in the aviation industry.
The city’s hometown airline announced Tuesday it will dole out the grants to Aviation High School in Long Island City and the City University of New York’s Aviation Institute at York College in Jamaica through the newly created JetBlue Foundation.
“The sky is literally the limit for aviation students,” said Joanna Geraghty, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “Through the JetBlue Foundation, we will continue our efforts to put aviation on the map as a career choice for students of all ages and backgrounds. As a leader in the aviation space, we believe it is our responsibility to give back by making an investment in the future of this industry.”
Aviation High — the country’s largest public, aeronautical high school — will use its grant to start a welding program that helps students planning to become a Federal Aviation Administration-certified maintenance technician.
JetBlue said more than 80 of its current technicians got their start at the high school, which it partners with to provide mentoring and internships.
York’s Aviation Institute will use the grant to develop the curriculum for an FAA-approved certification program for aircraft dispatchers, which will be the first of its kind at a public school in New York.
JetBlue said it is particularly interested in steering more women into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.“Inspiration starts here. Encouraging education in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and advocating for the future of aviation is how we will make a difference for our industry,” said Robin Hayes, the foundation’s executive director. “These are the areas where we need more passion and focus to carry our industry forward. In addition to grants, we will provide aviation-focused educational programs with in-kind support and our crew members will volunteer to make a difference among the next generation of aviators.”
JetBlue was officially branded “New York’s Hometown Airline” as part of a deal put together by the city Economic Development Corp. when the company was considering moving its headquarters from Forest Hills to Florida in 2009. As part of the deal, which included $7 million in tax exemptions, JetBlue relocated to its current headquarters in Long Island City in 2012.
It has since continued to invest millions in its terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In addition to the two borough schools, a Florida nonprofit will also receive a $25,000 grant to purchase tools and educational materials for students.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.