· Pittsburgh International Airport hosts unique job shadowing program for 8th grade students at Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6-12
· Presenter at second annual roundtable at Duquesne University June 9
PITTSBURGH, PA (June 11, 2014) – The Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACAA) has completed a successful year of participation in a regional effort to promote higher levels of corporate equity and inclusion for minorities. ACAA officials presented the airport’s results at the Second Annual Corporate Equity & Inclusion Roundtable at Duquesne University on June 9.
“The airport is an important economic engine for the region and a good community partner; there are many opportunities for jobs and career choices. The need to improve equity and inclusion for minorities is tied directly to the economic prosperity of the region and to meeting our workforce needs in the future,” said David Minnotte, ACAA Chairman. “The airport’s efforts went beyond well-meaning to well-doing.”
“This experience has really opened students’ eyes to careers that they were not aware of. Many of these students had never even been to the airport before,” said Derrick Lopez, President and CEO of Homewood Children’s Village.
A group of 25 students from Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy attended a kick-off event at the airport in November 2013 in which they were introduced to various career opportunities and professionals including those in airline and air service development, safety and security, wildlife and environmental management, operations and air traffic control, maintenance and engineering and more.
Daryl T. Moore, Design Director for Westinghouse Academy, said the experience will stay with the students long after they complete high school. “They continue to re-experience their moments at the airport, talking about air service, airport safety, airport operations, maintenance and airport consultants. They remember seeing first-hand the K-9 unit in action, firing a water cannon from a fire truck, their view from the tower of air traffic control, red coat responsibility, watching a bomb squad exercise, sitting on a plane for the first time, and learning the engineering equations of moving luggage from one place to another.”
Students were required to read a book and write an essay following their visit expanding on their interest in aviation. A more select group of students was chosen to attend a second event at the airport in March.
The Airport Authority became involved following a community roundtable discussion at Duquesne University in May 2013 that outlined the need for businesses to develop strategies for recruiting, promoting and retaining more minorities. ACAA employees started planning the program in the summer of 2013 with leaders at the Homewood Children’s Village and Westinghouse to develop an on-going job shadowing program for a fall 2013 launch.
ACAA joins local companies that are working on the inclusion initiative which was organized by the Allegheny County Conference on Community Development, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the Black Political Empowerment Project, and other community and business leaders in Western Pennsylvania.
“We wanted to maintain continuity with the students. We didn’t want it to be just a one-day event,” said Jim Gill, Acting Executive Director, ACAA. “These students made a commitment to come to the airport on spring break and continue learning. We were very happy to see how they had matured and how the program evolved.”
Gill said ACAA plans to continue the program this fall with a new group of eighth graders. “The authority is excited to continue focusing on the educational component of this important regional initiative, as we work toward fulfilling goals of expanding diversity, inclusion and equity,” he said.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6–12 is a comprehensive institution, located in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh that offers a variety of courses to meet the needs, abilities, and interests of its approximately 600 students.
Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport are operated by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. The airports are entirely funded by user fees; no local tax dollars are used for capital improvements or day-to-day operations.