You’re probably familiar with Southwest’s award-winning college internship program, NoLimits. We’re excited to be in the early stages of a plan to expand the program into high schools, with the intent of giving students exposure to corporations, helping them see the value in staying in school, and possibly pursuing higher education.
We’ve partnered with Education is Freedom and the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) to get started. Both organizations reach into Dallas communities where a higher education is more of a dream than a reality. The connection was easy—let’s help make those dreams real. Eventually, our goal is to have our own program that can reach all of the communities we serve.
Our summer high school Interns share what the program meant to them:
“Since my internship with Southwest Airlines was my first, I didn’t know exactly what to expect,” said Alexis Stephenson, who will be a senior at W.T. White High School in Dallas. “But my mom, Roz Nelson, has worked at Southwest for 18 years, so I knew enough to know it would be FUN, as well as a great learning experience. I also knew that getting the job done, having fun, and giving back to the community were parts of the famous Southwest Culture that I wanted to experience.”
“Currently, there are only four high school students in the world who can say they’ve interned at Southwest Airlines. I am endlessly lucky to say that I am one of those four,” said Jake Steele, who will be a junior at Hillcrest in Dallas this year. “From inside of a high school classroom, you can’t see how an office is split up into smaller teams that bounce off of and depend on one another. You can’t see how these teams then contribute to the goals and ideas that make up a company in a large-scale symbiosis.”
“One of my favorite parts of my internship was experiencing the Servant’s Heart value in action,” said Gaby Loredo, who will be a junior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas. “I related to that value early on, because I enjoy giving back to my community. I loved sharing this experience with my Cohearts and giving back to the community.”
Expanding the NoLimits internship program positively impacts Southwest by helping to build a pipeline of strong candidates for our college internship program. It also mirrors our Spirit of Giving from the Heart to the communities we serve, while introducing our brand to a new audience. Gaby’s mom summarized it, “This internship made her (Gaby) realize what she would like to spend her life doing.”
The future of recruitment for Southwest requires us to create awareness of the airline industry and the job opportunities at a much earlier age. First colleges, now high schools… There are truly no limits to the positive impact this program can have.