Private jet management company Desert Jet is aiming to attract a new generation of professionals into business aviation through a work shadowing programme with two California schools.
Based in Palm Springs, California, Desert Jet has partnered with Coachella Valley Unified School District and Desert Mirage High School, located in Thermal, California, to offer high school seniors enrolled in the schools’ aviation programme, direct experience of business aviation roles.
Desert Jet’s Shadowing Program enables students to experience first-hand what it is like to work in the company’s three business sectors: charter, aircraft maintenance, and FBO.
Jared Fox, CEO, Desert Jet told Corporate Jet Investor: “Desert Jet has worked with area high schools in the past on mentorship programmes and has even hired graduates here at our Thermal, CA location. We’ve always believed in supporting the community around us and found this to be a great time to expand our outreach to include this new shadowing programme. There is no substitute to seeing an operation up close and in person, so we wanted to give students that opportunity.”
In addition to work shadowing, students are introduced to the wide variety of industry roles and one-on-one instruction on resume writing, applying for jobs, and interview preparation and presentation.
Fox aims to apply two metrics to judge the success of the programme. “The first is through direct feedback from the students at the end of each of the programmes,” he said. “We ask students to give their honest feedback on what they liked, what they didn’t and ways we can improve. Additionally, the teachers and school leaders also provide their feedback on the programme and ways we can further develop the program as we grow.”
Longer term, Desert Jet aims to measure the success of the programme both by how many pursue careers in math and sciences but whether teachers and administrators are seeing students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) increase. “We know not all students will go on to be pilots, aircraft techs or work in FBOs. That’s fine. All we want to do is help create a spark that inspires them to pursue something positive and that will help them find their path,” said Fox.
The early signs are positive. “The experience at Desert Jet was awesome, overall,” according to Desert Mirage High School student Juan Nuñez. “I think that my aviation teacher Mr. Mourhess did an excellent job working with the people at Desert Jet to make the experience very fun and having us look forward to the next visit every time. The whole experience was excellent from start to finish, and the people were nothing but friendly and always welcomed us with a smile.”
Scott Mourhess, aviation instructor, Desert Mirage High School welcomed the practical experience on offer to his students. “Having the opportunity to be out of the classroom, in a real working environment with folks that come from this community, was a great source of inspiration for the kids as they move on to new pursuits after graduation.”
Fox, at Desert Fox, worried some students are reaching adulthood without a passion and without any real goals or ambitions. “Those students who are driven to succeed are often lost to find a way to accomplish what they want to achieve because they lack exposure to the real world. We are working to help find something, anything, that leads to inspiring young minds and I can’t think of anything more inspirational than aviation.”