SALISBURY, Md. (WJZ) – University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Alaska Airlines have teamed up to strive for more black student in the cockpit.
Last fall, a group of black pilots at the airline created the True North program, which provides financial aid to BIPOC college students who are interested in becoming an airline pilot. Commerce.
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According to a 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, about 3.9% of airline pilots and flight engineers are Black.
At the age of 19, Ronnell Norman became the first student to enter Compton Airport’s flight school. Today, he is Alaska’s first officer & CEO of the Fly Compton Aero Club. See how Norman and others are giving and helping to chart the course for aspiring pilots. pic.twitter.com/POb4G55XWm
– Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) March 11, 2022
Program that pays for flight training for two upperclassmen enrolled in the historic black college aeronautical science program and offered up to $50,000.
“Typically, the barrier to entry to an airline is going through flight training,” said Professor Edward Brink, Clinical Assistant Professor and Head Coach at UMES.
Students selected by Alaska Airlines for the program will switch to flight instructors after completing the program. Participants then moved on to guaranteed work at Horizon Airlines, the regional airline of Alaska Air Group, which later led to a position at Alaska Airlines.
Students in the True North program must remain in the Alaska Air Group for five years.
Alaska Airlines Captain JP Wilson says the program is a way to show students of color that the path to a career in flying is doable.
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“I grew up in the City of Baltimore in Liberty Heights and it was hard to get out of that community to see anything outside of that,” says Wilson. “And so it’s really important to go to these communities and show that you can go out in these communities and have so many opportunities.”
The program is still in its infancy and is currently only available at another HBCU, Delaware State University.
Junior Farah Mitchell told WJZ she plans to apply for the show.
“I love to fly. I like it here,” says Mitchell. “The more you show up, the more interesting it gets.”
She believes her participation in the show can inspire other people of color to consider a career as a pilot.
“I think it inspires people to do things differently,” says Mitchell. “I work at a pool and I tell the kids I’m flying and they’re like ‘Oh, that’s great,’ and then they get them excited doing it.”
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/18/alaska-airlines-um-eastern-shore-team-up-to-make-airline-piloting-more-diverse/ Alaska Airlines & UM Eastern Shore Teaming Up to Make Airline Piloting More Diversified – CBS Baltimore