April 18, 2022

Burke Air and Space Academy Students Visit Jet Linx for Tour and Panel Discussion on Aviation Career Pathways

Since the formation of a partnership in 2019, the Jet Linx National Operations Center (NOC) team in Omaha has been pleased to support the Burke High School Air and Space Academy (BASA) by offering direct access to exciting opportunities such as internships, mentorships and pipelines to aviation careers via Jet Linx. 

BASA offers cutting-edge programs for students interested in pilot jobs and other careers in aviation. Jet Linx has been a longtime supporter and partner of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute, but BASA presents an opportunity to grant opportunities to younger prospects – and helps to support one of the country’s best high school aviation programs.

In December 2019, Jet Linx coordinated a trip to Southwest Airline’s headquarters in Dallas, where BASA students received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour training facilities and interact with professionals at Southwest. Jet Linx has also assisted BASA with branding, marketing, design and strategic planning in the past, as well as making aviation professionals available via webinar or in-classroom at Burke’s campus.

Most recently, a group of more than 50 BASA students came to the Jet Linx NOC for lunch, a tour of the facility, and a panel discussion with time for students to ask questions. Included in the panel were Dakarai White, Jet Linx Fleet Optimization Specialist, Julie Polson, Jet Linx Accountant, Michael Kopp, Jet Linx Director of Operations, and La Viente Donovan, Air Traffic Supervisor from Eppley Airfield in Omaha.

“The diverse panel outlined the many possible career paths in aviation. There’s more to the industry than pilots. You can become a specialist in accounting, recruiting, flight coordination, air traffic control, administration and more. There are so many opportunities,” explained Brian Walker, Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy and Recruitment. “I have no doubt that some of these students will be working with us or perhaps funnel into our Destination 225° career pathway.”

Many of the students asked about what a career in aviation looks like on a daily basis, and what it might take to one day fill a seat at Jet Linx. Fortunately for the students, Dakarai White was able to share his path to Jet Linx, which began as a part-time intern while at UNO’s Aviation Institute. Three years later, White now works full time and serves as a great success story. White’s background included growing up in an Air Force family – and after wanting to be a pilot, White found his passion in flight coordination and fleet optimization.

“Jet Linx has a unique culture where team members always push you forward. Aviation as an industry is a place where sharing knowledge and being transparent is important to being successful, so I am thrilled to be in a position where I can now give back some of what I have learned,” White said.

Walker also explained that during the panel discussion, students were asked to describe the qualities of a BASA student at graduation. The answers provided a deeper explanation as to why the partnership between Jet Linx and BASA has been so successful.

“What we found in this discussion is that our core values at Jet Linx mirror many of the qualities that students saw as requirements for a BASA graduate. During our tour of the facility, I took extra time to point out and explain what we look for in team members at Jet Linx. It’s promising to see that BASA students already possess many of the qualities we look for,” Walker added.

With a growing enrollment at BASA, Jet Linx plans to widen the scope of future visits – perhaps between the NOC or at the new flagship terminal at Jet Linx Omaha (when construction is complete). Continued support offered by Jet Linx to BASA students – ranging from the foundational to the material level – ensures that the next generation of aviators have the resources and tools needed to break into the industry, and be willing to give back to future generations of aviators when the time comes.

“Jet Linx is what it is today because of our culture of giving back. Senior team members at Jet Linx all had great mentors, and now as mentors ourselves, we look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise. This mindset is why we’ve been successful as a collective group,” Kopp said to students.

Interested in a career in aviation? Check our job openings or learn more about our Destination 225° career pathway!

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