For the children of Brazil's poor, the underfunded state education system rarely offers a route out of the slums. Since 2002, a charity funded by Embraer has each year been offering 200 high school students in the São José dos Campos region - mostly sons and daughters of manual workers or the unemployed - a top-class, free technical education at a purpose-built technical college on a campus next to its factory.

Admission standards are high: there are 27 applicants for every place on the three-year course at the Juarez Wanderley Engineering College. After they graduate, the vast majority go on to study at university, with Embraer's Education and Research Institute helping many students by paying towards fees and expenses.

Although many graduates of the school may go on to meet Embraer's current need for engineers and technicians, the main motive is philanthropical, says the company, which has asked other Brazilian companies and those further afield to contribute to the initiative. Every time Embraer customer US low-cost carrier Jet Blue takes delivery of an E-190, it contributes $10,000 to the project. Company founder David Neeleman, who was born in Brazil, took the decision after visiting the school when he signed his order for 101 jets.

Source: Flight International