ALPA’s Education Committee promotes the piloting profession, advocates for ALPA, and mentors aspiring aviators who are preparing for the airline industry. This is primarily accomplished by committee volunteers in two ways:
At the collegiate level, ALPA has longstanding memorandums of understanding for pilot mentoring programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (at both the Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., campuses) and the University of North Dakota. We also signed three new agreements in the four years—Parks College of St. Louis University in 2014, Lewis University in 2015, and Central Washington University in 2016, and Indiana State University in 2017.
In addition, we have a formal presence at Purdue University, Southern Illinois University, and Western Michigan University, and the Education Committee is actively building relationships with nearly a dozen other universities in the United States and Canada.
Our aviation university outreach program has two program options:
In addition to on-campus outreach, the committee organizes annual field trips for students to tour airline operations 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 by these young men and women.
ALPA Education Committee volunteers visit grade schools to encourage pre-K through high school students to learn more about aviation and pilots’ work. These outreach efforts have expanded substantially over the past two years due to the explosive growth of the committee—from approximately 600 to over 1,600 interested volunteers. Our volunteers represent a wide cross section of ALPA’s membership with pilots from mainline and regional carriers flying both passengers and cargo in the United States and Canada.
During the 2015–16 academic year, ALPA members reached more than 8,900 grade-school students, leading interactive discussions about flying and life as an airline pilot as well as age-appropriate activities and lesson plans. This is almost double the number of students reached during the 2014-15 academic year. Committee volunteers also participate in community and industry events for school-aged children such as Women in Aviation’s Girls in Aviation Day.
ALPA is a member institution of the Aviation Accreditation Board International, the University Aviation Association, and Women in Aviation and participates in the annual conferences of each. ALPA also participates in the annual conferences of the National Gay Pilots Association and Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals.
In addition, ALPA is a proud sponsor of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON event, which is an annual collegiate aviation competition with flight and ground events designed to promote aviation safety and instill professionalism in the next generation of airline pilots; we also staff a booth at the competition and host an information session to talk with hundreds of collegiate aviators about ALPA, the piloting profession, and the industry.
In 2016, ALPA joined the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Next Generation of Aviation Professionals initiative to address the pilot supply issue. We also continue to explore other opportunities to expand ALPA’s outreach to the next generation of airline pilots through existing and new partnerships.
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