United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, has begun accepting applications for new pilots, part of an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030. As part of the initiative, of those 5,000, at least half will be women and people of color. With scholarships from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative options in the industry.
United also partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans that will help all highly qualified, motivated, eligible applicants to enroll, even if, at first glance, they can’t afford the enrollment. The academy expects to enroll 100 students this year.
Financial barriers often limit access for generations of women and people of color interested in pursuing a career as a pilot, so United committed $1.2 million in scholarships, with its credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase, also committing the same amount to support women and people of color accepted at United Aviate Academy.
“Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program — and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of color,” said Scott Kirby, CEO, United. “We’re excited that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to support our work to diversify our pilot ranks and create new opportunities for thousands of women and people of color who want to pursue a career in aviation.”
United will also leverage its relationships with organizations like Sisters of the Skies, Latino Pilots Association and more to help identify and steer qualified candidates to United Aviate Academy. These organizations will select the applicants to receive the funded scholarships and grants. Three Historically Black Colleges and Universities — Delaware State University, Elizabeth City State University and Hampton University — to further identify qualified candidates, allowing students to join Aviate and connect with ambassadors and coaches.
“We are proud to partner with United to support Aviate Academy’s mission to enable thousands to pursue their dream as a commercial airline pilot,” said Ed Olebe, president, Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Investing in this program directly aligns with our efforts to advance racial equity by expanding career development opportunities and making tangible progress in a field where women and people of color are underrepresented.”
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