The JetBlue Foundation has awarded $135,000 in grants to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs in Puerto Rico to aid in long-term post-hurricane recovery.
Grants of varying amounts were provided to organizations that are investing in the island’s future and placing aviation and STEM top-of-mind as career choices for students, JetBlue confirmed.
Earlier this spring, the JetBlue Foundation opened a granting application cycle to qualified programs and organizations working to fuel STEM learning. The Puerto Rico-specific grants are part of 100x35JetBlue, which is JetBlue’s ongoing initiative to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria through 35 ways over 100 days and beyond, with the JetBlue now focusing on the long-term phase.
This year’s grant recipient list includes:
- Ciencia Puerto Rico, whose mission is to democratize science and transform education in Puerto Rico by engaging and empowering a diverse, global community of scientists, students, educators and allies. Through its “Science in Service of Puerto Rico” program, the nonprofit will leverage its large and committed network of more than 9,000 STEM professionals and educators to transform the way science is taught on the island.
- EcoExploratorio, an organization that “inspires people to explore, share and protect the natural environment” through STEM. EcoExploratorio will develop the “In the Clouds” program to enhance Aviation Engineering and Technology, Aviation Weather Forecasting and Sustainable Development. “In the Clouds” will work with 25 girls ages 10 to 14, from economically disadvantaged and under-represented communities throughout San Juan to stimulate their interests in aviation and STEM.
- Several campuses of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, a previous JetBlue Foundation grant recipient, and the second largest university system in Puerto Rico.
- Inter Aguadilla focuses on the holistic formation of students through excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At least 30 students per semester will learn the culture of science, and all academic areas will be strengthened with special attention to an interdisciplinary education and the integration of technology. The Aguadilla campus will form the “Microbial Biodegradation of Jet Aviation Fuel” program as an opportunity to mentor the next generation of the Puerto Rican STEM workforce.
- Inter Bayamón produces competent professionals with a high-quality academic education that is dynamic, relevant, and responsive to the latest advances in STEM, aeronautics, business administration, and the arts. The “Give Wings to Their Dreams” project will partner with the School of Aeronautics and JetBlue Foundation to support student pilots from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This program will aid in certifications and provide support toward pilot licenses.
- The Puerto Rico Aviation Maintenance Institute (PRAMI) is the only institution in Puerto Rico that complies with Federal Aviation Administration, part 147 for Aviation Maintenance Technician schools. Following Hurricane María, its library and equipment were damaged or destroyed. The Interactive Learning Space will receive special new equipment and will use special technical software to supplement traditional classroom learning. The initiative will also help PRAMI comply with the Puerto Rico Approval State Agency for accreditation and the FAA requirements.
The JetBlue Foundation was founded in 2013 with a mission to reach 5,000 students in five years and provide educational opportunities through grants and in-kind support to diverse programs, volunteerism and partnerships.
“JetBlue and the JetBlue Foundation are dedicated to helping Puerto Rico in its long-term recovery and towards an even brighter tomorrow,” said Ursula Hurley, president of The JetBlue Foundation, who was on hand to distribute the grants at a ceremony in San Juan.
“Our focus is on investing in the next generation of aviation professionals, and ensuring they are prepared to join the industry,” she said. “These grants are just one of more than 35 efforts we’ve taken to invest in Puerto Rico and will fuel both the long-term success of the island and our industry.”
Beyond grants, the JetBlue Foundation provides in-kind support, mentoring, internships and much more to make a difference for the next generation of aviators, engineers, dispatchers, schedulers, aircraft mechanics and pilots and other STEM professionals.
Over the past five years, the Foundation has built ongoing relationships with more than 50 aviation and STEM-focused programs and provided more than $1.1 million in grants.