Compliance by definition means to conform or come to an agreement. However, mere compliance is not fully aligned with JetBlue’s mission of inspiring humanity or its core values of safety, caring, integrity, passion and fun.
JetBlue has a very distinct, unique and passionate corporate culture. Caring and integrity are not only two of our values; they are the pillars on which our airline was built. JetBlue’s mission is to inspire humanity both in the air and on the ground and it also applies to how we hire, and why we work to not just meet but exceed compliance requirements by putting humanity first.
As of November 2014, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 10.8% compared to 5.3% for people without disabilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At JetBlue, our people are our most important asset. Aligning with our company mission, JetBlue’s People (Human Resources) department decided to launch a disability awareness and recruitment initiative - Reaching Blue Heights.
As “Inspiration Begins with an Opportunity,” Reaching Blue Heights was designed to foster and achieve a more inclusive workforce. Most of these efforts were developed from the passion of JetBlue crewmembers who were seeking ways to help create a more all-encompassing work force. Thanks to the dedication of our crewmembers, we have developed and hosted Disability Mentoring Day for the past three years at the airline’s three support centers in New York, Orlando and Salt Lake City and we will be expanding to a total of eight locations in 2015.
Our purpose was twofold. First we wanted to highlight our commitment to hiring, inspiring and growing a diverse and inclusive talent pipeline, including individuals with disabilities. We also want to support a culture of inclusion in which crewmembers feel more comfortable disclosing their disability so we can help with reasonable accommodations.
This year, as the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates 25 years of removing barriers and empowering people. Internally JetBlue is taking this regulation a step further by advancing programs, such as Reaching Blue Heights, that help job seekers with disabilities learn and receive guidance directly from JetBlue crewmembers. Activities include mentoring relationships, career fairs and other initiatives that provide career advice and possible job opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Disability Mentoring Day
JetBlue crewmember volunteers have turned passion into action by hosting an annual Disability Mentoring Day. This large scale effort was designed to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration, job shadowing, internships and matching mentees with JetBlue mentors.
These events have fostered career development through various workshops and lunch and learn panels with senior JetBlue leaders and recruiters. During the workshops, mentees have the opportunity to polish resumes and enhance interviewing skills by working directly with JetBlue recruiters. In addition, mentees learn tips on how to build and preserve their personal brand through interactive and engaging presentations.
Our program has grown significantly from just four mentee/mentor relationships during its first year to 26 relationships in 2014 and this year we are expanding it to seven additional cities to impact even more individuals with disabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly one in five Americans has a disability. Our overall goal is to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities and promote a more inclusive workforce. We are also seeking to dispel fears about hiring people with disabilities by helping to increase confidence among students and job seekers with disabilities.
Click here to view a video on Reaching Blue Heights.
JetBlue is proud to support crewmembers and job seekers with disabilities through our Reaching Blue Heights disability initiative. For job opportunities, visit http://www.jetblue.com/work-here/.