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Our Internship Program is Evolving: Introducing Campus Reach

Explorer B

From "Smart Camp" to the far-reaching influence of Campus Reach, Southwest is hard at work building a pipeline of qualified candidates who are invested in Southwest.   

Introducing Campus Reach

We’re transitioning from NoLimits to Campus Reach to expand awareness of Southwest as an employment brand. For example, our wildly successful undergraduate internship program—now referred to as the College Internship Program—has led us to recognize the need for a more experienced Intern workforce. The MBA Internship Program will translate success achieved through “inviting [undergraduate] students into Southwest to experience the Culture and People” to participants with higher education levels. 5 Campus Reach even includes community outreach! We realized high school students may not fully understand the career opportunities available to them through Southwest and the airline industry, so we joined forces with several high school internships programs and have plans to eventually create our own.  This year’s inaugural Southwest Summer Camp brings a similar mission to children of Southwest Employees, broadening their views of the Company to go beyond the roles their parents hold within the Southwest Family. With growing demand to engage students at all levels, inspire them to pursue a future in aviation, and launch careers at Southwest following graduation from high school or college, our small but mighty Campus Reach Team can’t be everywhere at once. Another part of our expanded program will provide Southwest Employees a “kit” of tools they can use to speak about Southwest at their alma mater—or even to a kindergarten class!  

A History of Southwest’s Internship Program

1 “Smart Camp” was the ancestor of our program today, and it was spread out across several Departments. Relatively few Interns participated its first semester, and the application process involved paper packets manually reviewed by Recruiters—one person ran the whole program! This initial foray was well-received, and our Recruiting Team soon implemented an online portal to improve the application process.
When the word came from Senior Leadership that it was time to “put [the Internship program] on the map”, we were more than ready.
NoLimits started up in 2002, centralized within the People Department. With a vast number of other Southwest Departments interested in participating, our program became a talent pipeline through which Interns could be converted into full-time Employees. We made internal applications for full-time positions available during internships, and Southwest enjoyed a surge of fresh-faced talent! 3 Sam Leyendecker, Culture and Communications Team Leader and 2008 NoLimits Intern, is living proof that the program is effective.
“The NoLimits program gave me the opportunity to work at Southwest and ultimately gain the experience needed to jump start my career. My time spent as an Intern has made me a better Employee today.”
The NoLimits program has picked up speed, growing by 250 percent over the past five years! As we engaged with potential Interns at more schools than ever before, we brought in other Teams from the People Department to share the load. This increase in both interest and manpower paved the way for our Team’s evolution to Campus Reach. Stay tuned for more information regarding Campus Reach!