By Emon Johnson
United Airlines has partnered with Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA), Shades of Blue, Barboza Space Center, and Community Build, to put on a three-week youth event at LAX highlighting aerospace and aviation.
The event gives young people between the ages of 13 to 21 the opportunity to learn about both fields and create career paths for future endeavors.
With the direct goal of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusivity, or DEI, the E.A.A.S.T. (Encourage Aviation & Aerospace STEM Training) Collaborative, will run for three Saturdays – June 4th, June 11th, and June 18th – giving interested students the chance to ask employees from a wide range of aviation and aerospace backgrounds, their day-to-day operations and level of satisfaction in their work.
Base Chief Pilot of LAX, Brian Jackson, in coordination with Flight Operations, Aviate Academy, BEACON Business Resource Group, and the previously mentioned partners, is responsible for orchestrating this event.
Jackson, a United Airlines employee of over 17 years, believes it will be successful in promoting DEI.
“Aviate is United’s pilot career development program offering both aspiring and established pilots a defined and direct career path to potential employment as a FIrst Officer,” he states. “United’s AVIATE Academy looks to train over 5,000 pilots by 2030, with half of those students being people of color or women.”
Members from the TSA, FBI, Airforce, Navy, and Fire departments were in attendance this past Saturday, June 4th, 2022. Many sharing stories with students and taking photos with key guests.
Of such, was the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, who spoke on his grandfather, Salvador Garcetti’s, transformative meeting with the former Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley.
Salvador had, “Got into a bit of trouble,” Mayor Garcetti notes, and was stopped by Tom Bradley, who was a police officer at the time. “But instead of arresting him, he gave him a second chance, saying, ‘I believe in you and your potential.”
Salvador Garcetti went on to become a Sergent in the United States Army, eventually opening up his own barbershop.
In closing, Mayor Garcetti states “To everybody who thinks ‘I don’t think I fit the picture of what a pilot is’ I want you to go home tonight and look in the mirror. Because if you want it, you’re looking at exactly what a pilot should be. And that you absolutely, 100% belong here.”
Although becoming a pilot may appear to be the most luxurious position for some, there are several other vital roles in running an airline.
Those interested in safety, security, and hospitality, for example, can learn a thing or two from Mark Elam, deputy executive director for public safety and security at Los Angeles World Airports.
“Our industry suffered a lot after 911 when people didn’t feel safe to fly,” Elam states. “So it’s important for us each and every day, as we keep the airport secure, we also want to make sure we keep the airport safe and give the feeling of safety.”
Elam goes further stating that the culture of LAX follows the golden standard, where employees demonstrate not only their desire to keep guests safe, but to ensure they know that they’re cared for.
“We’re here to provide a good, positive experience. Despite the anxiety and concerns that come with flying and knowing that you have to go through TSA and security, we still want it to be a pleasant experience. We do that with a smile on our face and we want to make sure that people feel like they belong here and are welcome here.”
Two youths of the Los Angeles area, John and Peyton, shared their thoughts on the day’s events.
“It’s cool to hear that they wanted to be pilots as kids and now they’re doing what they wanted to do,” John states.
And Peyton says, “I feel like the pilots are very wise and I can see myself becoming a pilot or working at LAX.”
The following two Saturdays will be hands-on events, with the E.A.A.S.T Collaborative focusing on aerospace and building robots on June 11th, and aviation flight simulators and instruments on June 18th.