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Arizona Business Aviation Association Focuses on Student Internships

Oct. 5, 2016

The Arizona Business Aviation Association (AZBAA) introduces students to business aviation by holding at least one meeting a year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU’s) Prescott, AZ campus, and encouraging local companies to work with students in aviation programs.

Internships expose students to business aviation as a potential career path, said AZBAA President Dylan Miller.

“An internship is a great way to start that path to find new talent, then foster the student’s career in their own organization,” said Miller. “We see more and more business aviation organizations that want to bring up pilots flying with their company’s philosophies. It’s easier to teach these philosophies at a young age or lower experience point and bring the pilot up in their own culture.”

The same desire to teach culture while employees are young applies to other areas of the industry, including maintenance, management and logistics, so Miller encourages other regional business aviation groups, individual flight departments and aviation companies to visit with local colleges and universities that have flight and aviation degree programs.

“That should be your first stop,” said Miller. “You have to partner with them. It’s the fastest way to get exposure.”

Alycea Espinoza and Zac Greenman are current ERAU students, both majoring in aviation business administration, who have participated in internships. Greenman said his internships with aircraft manufacturers taught him to think on his feet, and also spurred his interest in pursuing it as a career.

“I was thrown head-first into different types of aircraft,” said Greenman, who thinks internships also benefit the host company. “Interns are a new set of eyes to take a look at your business.”

Espinoza, who interned with a wealth management company, said the experience familiarized her with different business and entrepreneurial concepts. “[My internship] was an opportunity to see different aspects of aviation,” said Espinoza, who wasn’t entirely aviation focused prior to her internship, but now feels better prepared to work in the industry.

NBAA Supports Internships

NBAA also encourages flight departments and other aviation organizations to develop internship programs to broaden their potential employee pool, evaluate prospective candidate performance and maintain a healthy workforce.

“Some companies use internships as an effective tool to select and recruit employees for permanent positions,” said Stacy Howard, NBAA’s Western regional representative, who attended AZBAA’s recent meeting at ERAU. “And managers often find temporary student positions bring new perspective and enthusiasm for the organization’s work. In either case, internships are really a win for the student, the employer and the industry.”

NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee recently revised the NBAA Internship and Career Guide, designed to help employers and business aviation regional groups develop their own internship and career development programs. Review the guide.