We’ve been focused on People from our very beginning, so it’s no surprise that Southwest places heavy importance on investing in our more than 58,000 Employees. After all, our Employees are what set Southwest apart. Supporting our Employees in achieving their career goals at Southwest is important to us, and we strive to ensure that we provide the continuing education and training opportunities that our Employees want and need.
Applying for ELDP has been the best choice I have made as a Leader, and it has helped me grow tremendously within a short, 18-month period. What you learn as an ELDP participant will be applicable not only at work, but also in life.
Employee and Leadership Development Training
Southwest Airlines University (SWA U) provides centralized training at our state-of-the-art training facility in Dallas. SWA U offers functional job training, and core Leadership courses like “Leadership Southwest Style” for our Frontline Leaders and “Next Level Leadership” for Managers.
One particular program offered as a partnership between SWA U and our People Department is our Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP). ELDP is an intense, fast-paced, job-rotation program that seeks to train and develop excellent Leaders for Southwest. Participants are placed in designated locations across the Southwest system for 18-months of on-the-job training in Leadership roles and provided Leadership training at our Headquarters in Dallas. In addition to Leadership training, participants also receive airport experience—both above the wing and below the wing, as well as Customer Support and Services (CS&S) experience—giving them exposure to three very different areas of our business. Upon successful completion of the program, participants are placed in a permanent Leadership role at Southwest.
ELDP participants have a passion for People Leadership and are champions of Southwest initiatives. They demonstrate our core expectations of Living and Working the Southwest Way and actively seek opportunities to learn and grow. The program is a great example of the Leadership training opportunities available to current Southwest Employees as well as external applicants who want to gain valuable Leadership skills and experience. Since ELDP began in 2013, more than 170 Leaders have graduated from the program.
The Importance of Investing in our Employees
At Southwest we know how important it is to invest in our People. Through training, continuing education, and mentorships we are able to find avenues to support the growth of our Employees. Equipping our Employees with the tools and resources for personal success empowers them to better serve our Customers, making Southwest stronger as a whole.