RAI Jets, a part 135 operator headquartered at Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport (KAZO), has launched a new internship program in conjunction with nearby Western Michigan University College of Aviation.
“We had been talking about starting an internship program to help aviation students get real-life, on-the-job experience for some time. With business booming, 2022 was the year to do it,” said Becky Riley-Bakeman, president of RAI Jets.
RAI Jets has a special connection with Western Michigan University. The RAI Jets director of operations as well as the sales and marketing director are both alumni from the school, and the company has also employed WMU College of Aviation alumni as pilots and technicians.
RAI Jets worked with Tom Thinnes, recruitment, marketing, and outreach manager at WMU’s College of Aviation to publicize the internship and recruit students.
“We are pleased to count an internship at RAI Jets among the opportunities we offer our students to engage with local aviation companies,” said Thinnes. “RAI Jets has been a strong supporter of Western Michigan University for years, and this internship program is a natural progression for building a symbiotic relationship between our organizations. The internship experience at RAI Jets will help prepare our students well for careers in aviation upon graduation.”
Two WMU interns are currently working at the RAI Jets headquarters at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (KAZO) in Kalamazoo: one from the aviation flight school and one from the aviation technical operations program. Two more interns from aviation technical operations will join the RAI Jets for the summer. All of the interns are receiving experience in line service, which is helping to clean and prepare the aircraft for flight. They also help with wingwatching, when the aircraft are moved.
“We are so fortunate to be located so closely to one of the country’s largest aviation schools and to be able to help each other in this way,” said Riley-Bakeman. “We look forward to a long-standing relationship between WMU aviation students with our internship program.”