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JFK Terminal 8 Partners teams with York College on inaugural student airport bridge program

Dec. 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

As part of its commitment to fostering opportunities for local and disadvantaged communities, JFK T8 Innovation Partners is collaborating with social impact platform Project Destined and York College in Jamaica on a program that offers work-based learning, mentorship and career development opportunities to undergraduate students across Southeast Queens as part of the commercial redevelopment of JFK’s Terminal 8.

The $125 million commercial redevelopment of Terminal 8 is part of the Port Authority’s $19 billion transformation project at JFK Airport. Photo courtesy of Port Authority

The initial cohort of 15 students from the CUNY Aviation Institute at York College recently completed a six-week program where they gained exposure to the skills, resources, and network required to build a career in airport development. The program featured weekly sessions with subject matter experts from the T8 Partners team. Each session highlighted a topic pertaining to the airport commercial business, including investment and partnerships, innovation and entrepreneurship, career opportunities and diversity.

JFK’s Terminal 8 will feature commercial opportunities along its Great Hall retail space. Photo courtesy of Port Authority

Students also had the chance to make an in-person site visit to Terminal 8 for hands-on learning, and each student earned a scholarship stipend through the program that is funded through a grant from the Port Authority, as part of the $19 billion transformation of JFK Airport.

“Working with T8 Partners to expand opportunities for young people in the neighborhoods surrounding JFK International Airport is a priority that the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council identified early in the process of creating a state-of-the-art airport,” said Hersh Parekh, Port Authority Director of Government and Community Relations for New York. “Not only will JFK soon become a world-class airport, it will also become the world-class neighbor this community deserves.”

Led by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), an owner and operator of real estate assets across the globe, JFK T8 Partners is the joint venture selected by American Airlines in partnership with the Port Authority to lead the commercial redevelopment of JFK’s Terminal 8, part of the Port Authority’s transformation of JFK Airport.

“Ensuring that Terminal 8 benefits our local community is paramount to everything we do here, and we’re honored to build on our longstanding partnership with Project Destined to help develop the next generation of industry leaders,” said Brad Tollefson, URW Sr. VP of Development. “We are honored to partner with amazing local institutions like York College to provide a one-of-a-kind learning and career development experience for Queens-based students.”

Since its founding in 2016, Project Destined has worked with more than 4,500 participants in 35 cities across the United States, Canada and Europe.

“As we witness airports everywhere undergo multi-billion transformations, this program represents a truly unique opportunity for local and diverse students to get an inside look and in-depth training that sets them up for career opportunities within a growing global industry,” Project Destined Co-Founder Cedric Bobo said. “We’re proud to continue to partner with URW to ensure these students have the training, network, and resources to capture these opportunities in their own backyard and beyond.”

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