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Published December 04, 2009, 03:56 PM

UND Aerospace Partnership Could Land Students Jobs

A turbulent airline industry could keep many of these future pilots at UND's school of Aerospace grounded. That is unless they're one of the lucky ones to land a new internship through the Gateway Program UND set up with Jet Blue and Cape Air.

By: Steve Bodakowski, WDAZ

In a somewhat uncertain airline industry UND is using a new internship with a major airline to help some select students secure jobs.

The internship is with Jet Blue and Cape air. Its only a year into it but already is proving to be exactly what they had hoped for.

A turbulent airline industry could keep many of these future pilots at UND's school of Aerospace grounded. That is unless they're one of the lucky ones to land a new internship through the Gateway Program UND set up with Jet Blue and Cape Air.

Erik Johnson: Its given me experience applying my certificates and knowledge to the real world."

Johnson is one of the lucky ones picked. The Gateway program sent him to Cape Air, where he spent part of last semester in the co -pilot seat for Cape Air flying passenger plane. He did the same training and work as their pilots do. UND is one of two schools in the country to have the internship program."

Bruce Smith: "The internship is very selective. It's a competitive process. If they win they go to the airline fly and become part of their program."

Students apply and must meet the strict criteria. It gives students airline experience before graduating, and gets their flying hours up. And that puts them on the airlines radar for a job.

Erik Johnson: Once I meet the hour requirements its understood I'll be able to get a job there and thats pretty great given the economy and just not knowing if you'll have a job"

About 20 people applied in the first year. Johnson say the experience he's gained will make him more marketable as the airline industry slowly turns around.

Erik Johnson: "Its basically airline experience its something most students don't get this early in the stage."

Bruce Smith: "There is an upsurge in pilots there are some layoffs but right now the curve is going up this certainly helps its a way for students to ensure a job.

Smith says Jet Blue and Cape Air approached UND because of their reputation.

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