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From Leadership in Education to Aviation

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The following blog post is by Chicago Customer Service Supervisor Frank Kuzniewski I was born and raised in the Chicago area, and worked as an educator, first teaching English, then as a principal. My years working with underserved students were some of the most rewarding years of my life. But, after 20 years, I wanted to do something different. I wasn’t sure what that would look like. Enter Southwest Airlines and their Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP). For ELDP, Southwest hires high-potential Leaders with a drive to work in Southwest Operations. ELDP is an 18-month job rotational program consisting of on-the-job training, with an emphasis in Leadership Development.  During the course of the program, participants work as Supervisors in host locations in three of the following areas: Customer Service, Operations, Ramp, Provisioning, and Customer Support & Services. In a fast-paced environment that’s always evolving, ELDP graduates have the advantage of Leadership experience in most, or all, areas of Southwest Operations. ELDP1 My career path from education to aviation is nontraditional; however, the skill sets I’ve used throughout my career remain the same. In education, I always put my teachers, families, and students before myself. Looking back, I would say that I provided high-quality Customer Service without really knowing what that meant! Now I’m fortunate to be working with talented Leaders at Chicago’s Midway International Airport as a part of ELDP. Currently, I’m using the same skills as a Customer Service Supervisor II. For my next rotation, I’ll be a Team Leader at Chicago Center. For my third and final rotation of ELDP, I’ll be back at Midway as a Ramp Supervisor. If you’re interested in applying, my advice to you would be, “Go for it!” If you have the desire to listen to others, put others before yourself, believe in the mission of Southwest Airlines, and live by the Golden Rule, then I highly recommend this program. I’m honored to be part of ELDP and know with hard work, the possibilities for me to grow with Southwest Airlines are limitless. Southwest is one of Chief Executive’s 2016 Best Companies for Leaders. Join our Leadership Team by applying for ELDP now through Friday, February 12 at Southwest.com/careers. Questions? Email ELDP@wnco.com