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Southwest’s High School Internship Program: Preboard Status for a Successful Career

Employee
Employee

Southwest Airline’s Campus Reach Team is dedicated to developing Southwest’s talent pipeline through internships and other diverse programs. Campus Reach is responsible for all of Southwest’s student engagement and hiring efforts. The Team is devoted to developing and implementing cutting-edge programs, engineered to expand Southwest’s recruiting reach. Campus Reach designed Southwest’s High School Internship program to extend the Company’s recruiting efforts beyond the college level. The High School Internship program opens students’ eyes to a career in aviation and the “world of work” at Southwest Airlines.

 

Six weeks ago, the Campus Reach Team welcomed our second class of High School Interns to the Company.  The 16 Interns, spread across five different departments, have been making an immediate impact by assisting with several projects within their designated teams. With the summer winding down, two of the Interns shared about their time within our newest participating departments, Ground Operations and Supply Chain. Both Kaylee and Aman have embraced the Southwest Airlines Culture. Here is what they have to say about their experience:

 

Kaylee: 

From cheerful greetings every morning, to challenging projects, to more free cookies than I can eat, I can’t imagine a better summer job for a seventeen-year-old than interning at Southwest Airlines.

 

My name is Kaylee Kimbrough and I’m a rising high school senior from Greenville, Texas. I study math and computer science as an early college student at Eastfield College. I am also taking online AP classes with teachers and classmates from all around the world as a student in the PAHomeschoolers AP Online program. I found Southwest’s High School Internship Program while searching for a summer job opportunity that would also strengthen my resume.  I was lucky enough to interview, and be selected for, an internship supporting Vendor Services within the Ground Operations Department. I’ve had the opportunity to work on exciting projects related to the delayed and lost baggage delivery process. In all the work I’ve done, whether tracking quality assurance scores or revising baggage delivery surveys, I’ve seen a direct connection to Southwest’s performance and Customer Service.  These projects also challenged me technically and creatively. I’m incredibly fortunate to have Leaders that trust me when I say, “I don’t know exactly how to do this, but I know I can figure it out.”

 

In addition, Southwest’s commitment to its People humbles me every single day. In the short six weeks I’ve been here, I toured the airport, hangar, and NOC, attended an address from CEO Gary Kelly, sat in on crew scheduling, participated in Ground Ops and Provisioning meetings, networked with Senior Leaders, and learned interviewing tips. I also receive daily mentorship and career advice from my Cohearts, including college Interns, Senior Directors, and everyone in between.

 

Based on my experience, Southwest’s foremost concern is helping their Interns learn and grow. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity, and know I will continue to benefit from the experiences I had and connections I’ve made at Southwest Airlines.

 

Aman:

As soon as I walked into Southwest Airlines’ High School Intern “speed-dating” interview process, I knew I was stepping into a business based on more than just work. I was at the front door of a Family consisting of the most exciting, hardworking individuals I have ever met. As soon as I left Southwest’s Headquarters, I knew I had witnessed something much bigger than an aviation Company.

 

My name is Aman Patel and I am a rising senior at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas. I’m an active member of my school’s debate team and, aside from the textbooks, I love playing beach volleyball and hanging out with my friends. I am having the time of my life as an Intern in the Supplier Performance Department, working at Southwest’s Dallas hangar. My daily tasks include working with Excel spreadsheets and reading through contracts. My time at Southwest created some of my most memorable experiences to date and I am truly thankful for this opportunity.

 

Coming into this, I was a nervous teenager who thought that my Dad was just easing my nerves when he said there is a true sense of community here. Now, I walk to my cubicle with a smile on my face because I love where I am and who I’m surrounded by. Every part of Southwest Airlines – the processes, People, and overall environment – contributes to a workforce that embodies a deep commitment to the Company’s initiatives and principles. This amazing Culture inspires Employees to work with diligence and passion.

 

In addition to all the fun, I’ve learned so much from my diversely talented Team, days in the field with various departments, and other Employee interactions. My time at Southwest has taught me technical work skills as well as the immense value of a driven work ethic and the boundless potential of a devoted community at work. Implementing these lessons outside of the office, or Living the Southwest Way, has already made me a better Leader.

 

Overall, the Campus Reach Program has been a life-changing experience and I cannot wait to use everything I learned. I am not done at Southwest Airlines!

 

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