United Airlines on Tuesday announced an ambitious new plan to recruit more pilots for what could be a worldwide pilot shortage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
United, the only major U.S. airline to own its own flight school, began accepting applications to the United Aviate Academy as it embarks on a plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color.
Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color, to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.
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In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll.
“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,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. “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.”
Both United and JPMorgan Chase have committed $1.2 million each to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy.
“We are proud to partner with United to support the Aviate Academy’s mission to enable thousands to pursue their dream as a commercial airline pilot,” said Ed Olebe, President of 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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