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Cape Air and JetBlue University Gateway Program Announce New Partnership with Bridgewater State University

September 8, 2014

JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq:JBLU) and Cape Air recently announced a new partnership with Bridgewater State University (BSU). BSU is the newest addition to JetBlue's University Gateway Program, a pilot talent pipeline which partners with top university aviation programs and regional airlines such as Cape Air. BSU is the airline's first school alliance in its Boston focus city. 

JetBlue's University Gateway Program is a career-planning and mentoring initiative designed to identify and recruit talented professionals into the pilot ranks. The program includes rigorous academic training and valuable regional airline experience. The University Gateway program creates a clearly defined career path for aspiring pilots, beginning early in an aviator's college career and culminating with the possibility of a final interview at JetBlue.

“The University Gateway Program has proven to be an invaluable resource for Cape Air. The chance to partner with not only JetBlue, but also Bridgewater State University, means that we can continue to play a significant role in the career path of pilots in training. We look forward to strengthening the program with the new addition of Bridgewater State, and expanding the opportunities available to talented individuals with a passion for aviation,” said Linda Markham, president of Cape Air.

“At JetBlue, we actively support the various communities we serve. Bridgewater State University is located near our Boston focus city and will help introduce even more pilots into our ranks. We will use the strong ties which already exist between Cape Air and Bridgewater State University, as many of Cape Air's pilots are BSU Alums. We look forward to welcoming some of these pilots to JetBlue in the near future,” said Eric Poole, A320 captain and University Gateway Program project manager for JetBlue Airways.  “We’ve been very vocal about our plans for growth in Boston. In fact, we are in the midst of our Terminal C expansion and we’re fast approaching our target of 150 daily departures from Logan International. This partnership will help us continue to fuel the JetBlue pilot pipeline.”

In late August, Captain Rich Carter, JetBlue's director system chief pilot, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, president of Bridgewater State University and Linda Markham, president of Cape Air officially signed a memorandum of understanding. JetBlue crewmembers as well as school administrators were on hand at Boston’s Logan International Airport to celebrate the announcement. BSU is the seventh university partner for JetBlue’s University Gateway Program. Other academic alliances include the University of North Dakota, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona and Prescott), Auburn University, Jacksonville University and Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

The University Gateway Program is open to students at participating schools with high academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or above) and recommendations from their professors. It requires a successful series of interviews with JetBlue and a regional airline partner, as well as continued enrollment in an Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) program. During the Gateway Program, participants intern at Cape Air or other regional airline partners, and then serve as an instructor at their respective flight school. Following that process, candidates fly with Cape Air for at least two years and then receive an interview at JetBlue.

BSU is an AABI accredited university which offers a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science with concentrations in aviation management or flight training. The university combines a liberal arts education with flight experience and prepares students to fly in varying weather conditions and over mountainous terrain and open waters as well as how to handle operations in both controlled and uncontrolled environments.

Bridgewater State University President Mohler-Faria said the new partnership marks “a big moment for us.” He discussed the 30-year history of BSU’s aviation program and how it almost came to an end several years ago. Instead of folding, it has since expanded. “As I see the future of aviation at Bridgewater, there is tremendous opportunity,” President Mohler-Faria stated. “Seeing two alumni in their JetBlue uniforms makes me realize, with our various programs, what ultimately can happen for our graduates.”

Education is a core pillar of JetBlue’s overall strategy and responsibility platform. The airline and its newly launched JetBlue Foundation encourage students to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including aviation careers from piloting an aircraft to maintaining its engines.  JetBlue has a unique education pathway including relationships with elementary school students and mentoring high school and college students to the University Gateway Program, which may lead to positions as Pilot Trainees with the carrier. 

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