ALPA Pilot Mentor Programs

Through its Education Committee, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)— the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 59,000 pilots at 33 airlines in the United States and Canada—has built alliances with leading universities in North America to mentor aspiring aviators and prepare them to join the piloting ranks. 

Currently, ALPA has professional development and/or mentoring programs at ten university campuses:

ALPA is also building relationships with nearly a dozen other universities in the United States and Canada, including Arizona State University, Auburn University, LeTourneau University, Liberty University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Middle Tennessee State University, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Seneca College, and Westminster College. Several of those universities are interested in formalizing a program with ALPA, and we will continue to expand our outreach to other prestigious institutions over the next couple of years.

ALPA Pilots Mentor Program at Parks College of St. Louis University.

ALPA’s aviation university outreach program has two optional programs. 
  1. Option 1 consists of one visit each semester by ALPA pilot volunteers, during which those volunteers guest-speak in numerous classes and give practical workplace examples, emphasizing professionalism. These day-long visits usually culminate in an evening forum, where ALPA pilots can provide an industry overview and answer questions related to their segment of the airline industry. 
  2. Program option 2 is the establishment of an on-campus, student-led Aviation Collegiate Education (ACE) Club, sponsored by ALPA. The clubs meet once or twice a month, over four months, each semester to discuss a wide range of aviation-related subjects, including crew resource management, training, and preparing for airline pilot job interviews. 
In addition to on-campus outreach, ALPA organizes annual field trips for students to tour airline operations and other aviation-related facilities. These field trips enable aspiring aviators to get a behind-the-scenes look at how airlines operate and experience first-hand what it takes to be a professional airline pilot.

They, along with the campus visits, help students experience the profession first-hand through real-world scenarios and, in doing so, promote more mature and well-rounded thinking. These initiatives have been highly successful and very well received by university faculty and students. In fact, during the 2015–16 academic year, Embry-Riddle in Prescott began encouraging all aviation students to join ALPA’s ACE Club and exempting club members from having to take a required professional development class; the year prior, the ACE Club was recognized by the university for the positive impact its programs have had on students and the campus community.