Southwest Airlines kicked off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by hosting the 2nd annual Career Day for students in the Bridges from School to Work Program (“Bridges”). Bridges helps young adults with disabilities prepare for the workplace and find jobs with companies looking for qualified, entry-level applicants. The Southwest Accommodations & Career Transitions (ACT) Team and Dallas Love Field Station Leaders created an interactive and unique experience for participants, with a behind-the-scenes look at the role of Ramp, Customer Service, and Provisioning Agents at Love Field Airport. By walking the tarmac, observing the ticket counters, and having a panel discussion, the students were exposed to a new world of job opportunities in the airline industry.
Fernando, a senior at Adamson High School in Dallas, had no idea how big an aircraft was until he stood next to one—he has only flown once, as a young child. Fernando struggled to find competitive employment until recently when he was hired at a local hospital as a part-time janitor. Good customer service is stressed at his current job, and Fernando said he was “very impressed with the level of Customer Service at Southwest. I did not realize how busy a major airport tarmac can be, and the level of Teamwork and coordination required to get everything done in a timely manner.” He also says that he “learned a few tips about good Customer Service from Southwest Leaders, and saw it first hand during the tour of the operations at Love Field. I plan to use these at my job now.”
It was a great day for all who participated. Maybe someday we’ll see Fernando, or other Bridges students, delivering that same great Customer Service on the Southwest Ramp!