July 31, 2023

NBAA’s Young Professionals in Business Aviation (YoPro) and about 50 high school and college students gathered at the association’s tent on the flight line at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, to raise awareness about the wide variety of opportunities available across the industry.

“Having students mingle with young professionals embodies everything we do,” said Noah Yarborough, NBAA flight operations manager and YoPro Council staff liaison. “We’re advocating for business aviation. We’re providing professional development and we’re building community all in one place at one of the coolest airshows in the world.” NBAA’s YoPro organization is a group dedicated to building relationships between emerging leaders across the business aviation industry. Learn more about NBAA’s YoPro program.

Many of the students at the networking event were curious to learn details about entry-level positions, as they consider joining the business aviation sector.

“They wanted to know what that first job looks like. And for a lot of people, it’s a Part 135 charter operation,” said Julia Harrington, lead captain/base manager at operator Axis Jet. “It was nice to be able to just give them some information, educate them on my path and offer my personal perspective.”

Oshkosh provided an appropriate location for Harrington to help others find their career paths. She first gained exposure to aviation when her father took her to AirVenture as a child. Harrington, a co-vice chair of the YoPro Council who has served on the council for three years, said many students just don’t realize how many opportunities business aviation has to offer. “You can do so many things in aviation, but I think it’s especially true in business aviation. It multiplies by a lot.”

During the event, Harrington found herself talking with two young women students from Utah Valley University. “They were pilots asking about different job opportunities and how to connect with people and jobs in business aviation,” she recalled. During their conversation, Harrington could tell she was opening their eyes to a new perspective on the industry. “I was holding my 1-year-old son as I spoke to them about how my quality of life is really great, and how I’ve been able to be home a lot and figure out how to fly more day trips and have a flexibility of schedule that just doesn’t exist at the airlines in the same way.”

Current young professionals in business aviation who are interested in getting more active in the community can find opportunities to do so within NBAA’s YoPro Go! program. Learn more about YoPro Go!.

Organizing the information-sharing session meant targeting a specific group of young professionals at the airshow amid hundreds of thousands of attendees. Doing that required a bit of legwork.

“After we took our virtual invitation and printed it out, we simply hand delivered the invitations ourselves to the booths and tents of the schools that were exhibiting at the airshow,” said Elayna Hall, NBAA professional development specialist and YoPro Council member. “NBAA also invited young professionals from the association’s member companies to join us so they could share their experiences with the students.”

Harrington and fellow YoPro Kimberly Kissh, a Part 91 pilot based in Chicago, also took their message to a larger audience over the weekend by participating in an in-depth interview on EAA Radio.

Those who are considering business aviation career paths as pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants and more, can find information about jobs, scholarships and internships on NBAA’s website.