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It's Time For Your Dreams To Take Flight: Broward College Celebrates Joining JetBlue’s Gateway University Pilot Pathway Program

May 30, 2024

The Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College officially kicked off its partnership with JetBlue’s Gateway University, making it the first community college to join the major airline’s groundbreaking pilot development program.

The longest-running path program for aviation college students, Gateway University was launched in 2008 to partner with top university aviation programs and address the career uncertainty many developing pilots experience when starting out. With one of JetBlue’s largest crew bases at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and numerous destinations served from surrounding airports including Miami and Palm Beach, Broward College is also ideally positioned to help area students study for in-demand careers that allow them to stretch their wings and fly while still maintaining their connection to home.

“The most fundamental part of any flight plan is knowing your destination and charting a clear path to that goal,” said Nancy Hocking, director of Gateway programs, JetBlue. “Broward College has a strong reputation and has shown their ability to successfully prepare students for careers in aviation, and we’re thrilled to welcome these pilots to our program and support them as they move forward on their course to a rewarding career in commercial aviation.”

JetBlue's Gateway University program is a career-planning and mentoring initiative designed to identify and recruit talented professionals into the pilot ranks. Students accepted into the program receive a conditional job offer as a first officer at JetBlue along with additional guidance and mentorship as they complete their education and follow one of several prescribed paths to gain experience and flight time at a partner airline. After completing all requirements and certifications, pilots in the program are able to officially join JetBlue as a first officer.

“Becoming a pilot is a well-paying and fulfilling career with a starting salary of more than $100,000 for a first officer with most major airlines,” said Russell McCaffery, Dean, Broward College Transportation Programs. “There is tremendous opportunity for upward mobility with senior captains making a $500,000 salary.”

Certified by the Federal Aviation and Federal Communications Commission, the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College is located at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines. Students are trained by FAA-certified flight instructors from Phoenix East Aviation in the air, and on the ground using state-of-the-art flight simulators.

Broward College’s Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate program offers a comprehensive education for aspiring commercial airline and private jet pilots. They earn instrument and multi-engine ratings, as well as become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII). Some courses are available online to offer a flexible schedule.

“We are so grateful for this partnership with JetBlue,” said Megan R. Cottle, Vice President for Advancement and Chief Development Officer for the Broward College Foundation. “The JetBlue Gateway University program will have a positive impact on our students providing them with the support and hands-on experiences that will fuel their future career success.”

One of the top priorities at Broward College is to prepare students for fields that are actively hiring, increasing their opportunities of job placement upon graduation and fostering long careers in the field of study. For instance, one such field is aviation, where there is a high demand to develop a strong talent pipeline. Last July, Boeing released its 2023 Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO) report, which projects that 649,000 new commercial pilots will be needed by 2042 to account for fleet growth and to replace retiring pilots.

About JetBlue
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue, known for its low fares and great service, carries customers to more than 100 destinations throughout the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. For more information and the best fares, visit

About Broward College
Serving approximately 56,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. Please visit for more information.

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