Alyssa Hammer, 24, from Idaho Falls has her fingers and toes crossed that she gets accepted into one of the most elite programs at Utah Valley University.

In December, David Neeleman, owner of new airline Breeze Airways, partnered with UVU on a new flight attendant program housed in the Aviation Science College.

Breeze Airways is the new start-up for JetBlue founder Neeleman, who has partnered with UVU to create an innovative flight attendant training program. Breeze will hire qualified UVU students as flight attendants and will simultaneously provide them with a path to a college degree through the university.

“I’ve sent my resume in and completed my pre-recorded interview,” Hammer said. “I’m hoping I get selected.”

Asked why the flight attendant program was so attractive to her, Hammer said it was so many of the things they are offering and she previously had thought seriously about being a flight attendant. And the program offers a perk of one paid trip a month when not working.

The Breeze program is exclusive to UVU and offers students a way to work and complete their education at the same time.

“As we prepare the ‘world’s nicest airline’ for launch in 2021, we’re looking for student team members who will help us in that quest,’ ” Neeleman said. “Everyone wins through this partnership. Breeze hires outstanding student team members who receive real-world experience and a college degree.”

Students also must be at least 20 years old, willing to relocate to bases where Breeze needs them, and work 15 days per month. They must be accepted to UVU before their initial training date with the airline. Other benefits include monthly salary, paid housing, transportation to and from the airport for work, and one paid trip home per month.

“UVU is extremely pleased with the Breeze Airways partnership,” said David McEntire, UVU’s dean of the College of Health and Public Service, of which aviation is a part. “It is clearly a wonderful opportunity for our students and the airline. Our college and department leaders cannot express our gratitude enough for this innovative collaboration.”

When asked why he picked UVU, Neeleman said, “I have an honorary doctorate from UVU. I’m close to those guys.”

It also puts him closer to a flight school for pilot training. He sees that as something he could partner with in the future.

While the program started off slow, Neeleman said it has picked up momentum.

Neeleman has not yet announced where his new airline will be flying to and from, but he did say he would be hiring “a couple of hundred crew.”

The reason he did the program this way is because there isn’t one major hub that employees will fly out of.

“It’s a nomadic program,” Neeleman said. “That’s hard to hire for.”

The flight attendant/online student combination works. They could fly from one airport to another. Housing is provided and they can carry their school along with them.

Both males and females are being considered for the job. The students will be mentored by certified and experienced flight attendants.

“Our message or mantra is, ‘We are the nicest airline’, ” Neeleman said.

Hammer said that is what really attracted her to the program.

“Seriously, nice is something I treat people and will be easy to sell.”

As far as the airline goes, Neeleman said the company is very busy.

“We are hiring like crazy,” he said. “We’ll have 14 airplanes up by summer and many more by fall.”

As for the students’ reward, Neeleman said, “It will be a fun experience and a good life.”

By flying while getting their degree, Neeleman believes students will be ready to get out into the field and they will already have substantial knowledge behind them.

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and complete the initial flight attendant training program in Salt Lake City before tuition will be covered. University classes will be limited during training.

For more information, contact program administrator Carlin Clarke at (801) 863-7816 or email her at cclarke@uvu.edu.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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