MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — Sun Country Airlines has announced it will give commercial aviation students at Minnesota State University, Mankato employment opportunities upon graduation.

The partnership, through Sun Country’s Bridge Program, gives students the opportunity to sign with a national carrier while they’re still in school.

“The partnership is important for Sun Country Airlines and the entire aviation community because it ensures a steady stream of highly qualified pilots,” Sun Country Airlines Chief Operation Officer John Spanjers said. “We’re thrilled to be able to give aspiring pilots the opportunity to join the Sun Country family straight out of college.”

The school’s aviation department chair, Tom Peterson, called the partnership a “big opportunity.”

“Making the leap to a national carrier straight out of college gives our students a huge advantage in terms of their overall career progression,” Peterson said.

Eligible students must complete their flight hours at the university.