Welcome to our journey, Bessie Minor Swift Foundation!

Founded in 2004, Pathways to Aviation's purpose has advanced from general aviation education to aviation curriculum, economic, and workforce development. The small non-profit has captured the attention and collaborative engagement of numerous organizations, including: Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Nevada Governor’s Workforce Investment Board (Aerospace & Defense Sector Council), Nevada Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation, Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, Truckee Tahoe Airport Authority, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, State of Nevada Department of Education, Washoe County School District, Truckee Tahoe Unified School District, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, Sierra College, and Nevada Business Aviation Association.

The concerns facing the greater aviation industry are no secret. Here are a few which have our greatest attention:

There’s a growing workforce shortage, not just with pilots, but within avionic, mechanical, technological, and service-oriented positions.

  • The industry needs a skilled labor force, especially well-trained and certified personnel.
  • The topic of aviation is missing from both general and elective education instruction.
  • Many students do not take advantage of or receive career coaching and mentoring resources and opportunities, particularly in advance of graduation into the workforce.

Our overall mission is straight-forward…Pathways to Aviation provides solutions to the aviation industry’s growing workforce needs by informing, inspiring, and engaging its future labor force. Guided by our mission, we’re addressing workforce shortages in a number of ways, including:

  • Empowering a new generation of aviation experts and leaders.
  • Awarding scholarships to students attending collegiate and specialty instruction.
  • Fostering 100% of hiring from local and nearby locations.
  • Conducting career-readiness workshops for high school and college students.
  • Hosting networking receptions, connecting aviation executives and recruiters to job and internship-seeking students.

The Futures in Aerospace initiative connects students to industry, aviation executives, and college and career opportunities. Students obtain an understanding of their hard and soft skills, articulate those skills on their resumes, share the skills and passions through face-to-face interactions, and develop strong relationships with aviation leaders.

The career development workshops are conducted at airports and aviation-related businesses in three locations: Reno NV, Carson NV, and Truckee CA. They feature aviation executives, who share their experiences, descriptions of their company specialties, overviews of hiring practices, and career-focused advice. In addition, students receive career planning best practices, such as skills identification, resume writing, interviewing tips, and networking instruction. The goal is for students to be well-prepared to meet aviation executives and recruiters at the final session, where all students and aviation leaders will assemble. If all goes well for the students, they’ll leave with job shadowing, internship, and part and full-time employment commitments.

We don't stop at merely host workshops and events. We find it vital that we track everything, particularly what happens after the program ends. Data is important, not just for planning workshops, but state and local education administrators, aviation leaders, and the students themselves. It starts when each student completes a registration form, which identifies their aviation career interests, career planning gaps and needs, basic personal and educational demographics, and program goals. Attendance and participation metrics are captured at each session to help assess student needs, determine the allocation of special scholarship funds, and recruit new speakers. Upon program completion, all students, mentors, and networking night participants will evaluate program performance.

We received additional comments through our post-program survey of participating students and professionals. 

  • “The students were very well prepared to discuss their goals and ambitions and they asked very good questions.  The variety of professionals from throughout the industry was amazing. The students really got a taste of multiple avenues they could take their aviation skills and dreams.”
  • “The one on one meetings with the students was amazing!  I was able to individualize what I talked about depending upon the student's grade level, aeronautical interest, and educational or military goals.  Very impressed as to how well they were prepared for their discussions with the industry professionals.”
  • “The industry leaders were incredible! The amount of experience, stories, advice and information we were able to receive was truly awesome; it opened up my eyes to so many other possibilities that my future could hold.”
  • “It was great to have a casual conversation with so many experts. They allowed me to expand the vision of my future. Moreover, it helped me develop my communication skills.”
  • “There were many people who were role models to me and their work experience was also very interesting.”

During the 2017/2018 school year, Pathways to Aviation met or presented to over 7,000 students in northern Nevada and the eastern Sierras and created career pathways for 86 high school and college students, representing 23 different educational institutions.

Operating this small 501c3 non-profit organization (EIN#81-0578379) is done on a tight budget. Projected expenses for the Futures in Aerospace 2019 program are:
Career (Flight Plan) Workshops - $15,000
Networking Receptions - $8,500
Projected Budget - $23,500

We've been fortunate to attract support from the following outstanding contributors: E.L. Cord Foundation, ISTAT Foundation, Truckee Tahoe Airport District, Click Bond, and the Pathways to Aviation board and staff.

The worldwide aerospace industry is growing, not just in the state of Nevada. However, at the same time, the workforce shortage in the industry is increasing rapidly. Pathways to Aviation works to prevent the shortage from impacting northern Nevada by creating opportunities for both industry corporations and its future generations. The Futures in Aerospace program introduces students to the aerospace industry, connects them with aviation executives, and guides them toward exceptional college and career opportunities. This popular program serves as a tool for executives to showcase to prospective corporations considering relocating to an area ripe in aerospace activity and a pipeline of talented future personnel.