Over a dozen students at Cabrillo and Jordan high schools learned about various aviation careers as part of a partnership between Long Beach Unified School District and Long Beach Airport.

Only 13 students across the two schools were selected out of 60 applicants to take part in the airport’s first Careers Taking Flight Externship Program, which is meant to give them a competitive edge in the sector in the future.

“Long Beach’s deep-rooted connection to the aviation sector, which contributes to our local economy, has always been a source of pride for our city,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement.

During the 40-hour program, which took place over five days last week, the students learned about the job duties, pay and credentials required for more than a dozen careers at airports, airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the business aviation sector, according to an announcement Monday.

Students who completed the program received a $500 incentive payment and were offered a free exploration flight on the final day through Chapter Seven of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program. Since its inception in 1992, the Young Eagles program has given more than 2 million young people, ages 8 to 17, the chance to fly in a general aviation plane.

“This program will lead to bright opportunities and rewarding careers for these students, and we thank our partners for their participation and engagement in helping us inspire tomorrow’s aviation professionals,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement.

Last week’s summer externship was the first in the newly established program, which include numerous offerings to provide students from elementary through college with opportunities to learn about the basics of the industry as well as general knowledge about the airport and its partners, the announcement stated. Future programming also will include paid summer internship for high school students, which is expected to launch next summer.

Tours and guest speakers for the recent externship program were provided by Aeroplex Group Partners, Atlantic Aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration, FlightSafety International, SoCal Jet Services, Southwest Airlines, Swinerton Builders and the Transportation Security Administration.

Michelle Thomassian, administrator for the school district’s business engagements and strategic partnerships, described the hands-on, paid programming as “unique.”

“We are beyond grateful to the airport for taking such a collaborative and student-centered approach to workforce development,” Thomassian said in a statement. “The [district’s] business partner community is instrumental in empowering and preparing our brilliant students to get their dreams off the ground.”

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