KSU-CAE Partners with Southwest Airlines, Destination 225°

Kent State University Partners with Southwest Airlines Pilot Pathways Program Destination 225°

We proudly announce that Kent State University (KSU) has partnered with Southwest Airlines® to offer Kent State students and Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) a clear and direct route to becoming a Southwest Airlines First Officer through the carrier’s Destination 225° program.

Southwest® created Destination 225° to build future pipelines to Pilot talent and the university pathway aims to provide a highly accessible, cost-effective, and innovative route to flying at a major carrier while pursuing a degree. The university pathway eases barriers to becoming a Southwest Airlines First Officer through guidance, training, and quality flight time to develop great pilots. 

“Many of our professional pilot students enter our program with the dream of someday working for Southwest Airlines,” said Brian Neff, assistant dean of Flight and Operations, College of Aeronautics and Engineering (CAE). “This partnership with the carrier’s Destination 225° program provides opportunities for our students to gain exposure and mentorship during the early stages of their flight training to better make their career goals a reality.” 

Join the Southwest and Kent State teams on Wednesday, March 1, for an exciting visit to our College of Aeronautics and Engineering to officially kick off this great partnership with classroom presentations, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with students, faculty, and staff! All KSU students are welcome to attend.

“This recognition is a true reinforcement to the excellent training and education provided by our faculty and staff and embodied by our alumni presently employed by Southwest Airlines and its partners,” said Christina Bloebaum, Ph.D., dean, CAE. “One of the most exciting parts of Destination 225° is the mentorship our graduates will receive as part of their involvement in the program. Career mentorship is truly invaluable.”

By creating awareness of the Destination 225° program through marketing program materials, Kent State will recommend and identify qualified flight instructors for consideration in the pilot pathway program at Southwest.

“It’s an honor for us to welcome Kent State University to Southwest’s Destination 225˚  program as a university pathway partner,” said Lee Kinnebrew, Vice President Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. “We’re passionate about inspiring the next generation of professional pilots and look forward to supporting Kent State students who join the Southwest Family in the years ahead.” 

This partnership is a momentous time for the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. Workforce development by training and educating the next generation of pilots in commercial, cargo, and corporate aviation is a top priority, and is made possible by the facilities and operations.

Kent State owns and operates the Kent State Airport (1G3), complete with a 14 CFR Part 145 Repair Station Certified Department of Aircraft Maintenance, four miles from campus in Stow and has the largest collegiate fleet of aircraft, 34, in Ohio. 

For more information about the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, please visit www.kent.edu/cae.

For more information about Destination 225, please visit careers.southwestair.com/D225.


Media Contact:

Alyssa Robinson, M.Ed., amazey2@kent.edu

POSTED: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 08:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 8, 2023 01:27 PM