On Monday, the State of Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Florida’s hometown airline Silver Airways announced they are partnering to offer financial assistance, additional training opportunities and a direct pathway to jobs at the Florida-based carrier.
The Professional Pilot Apprenticeship/Internship Grant program, a collaborative initiative launched by the State of Florida, Embry-Riddle and Silver Airways, focuses on increasing the level and number of potential pilots coming to the state to earn their undergraduate degree and professional pilot certifications.
According to the 2016 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook report, between now and 2035, the aviation industry will need to supply more than two million new aviation personnel worldwide including 617,000 commercial airline pilots – 112,000 in North America alone. Recent reports produced by the Department of Transportation state that airlines are carrying nearly 900 million passengers in the United States in 2015, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
The grant, which could be offered to as many as 60 students, will require completion of an undergraduate degree at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Fla., Campus, and after satisfying academic and training qualifications for the grant would serve as flight instructors at the university. The grant then provides opportunities for these students to be offered jobs as professional pilots at Fort Lauderdale-based Silver Airways which operates more routes within Florida and between Florida and the Bahamas than any other airline.
Money to support the program is from a $2 million grant to the university approved earlier this year by Florida Governor Rick Scott’s 2016-17 Florida First budget. A top priority of the Florida First budget is investments in STEM fields to prepare students in K-12 and colleges in the state for jobs in high-demand areas. Programs such as PPAI reiterate the state’s goals of making Florida first in job creation as well as attracting and retaining the most skilled and diverse workforce.
“As a global leader in aviation and aerospace higher education, Embry-Riddle is proud of its reputation for providing world-class, all-encompassing and comprehensive degree programs for our future pilots – and that includes the vital skills they need to be successful in their careers by offering the best in hands-on training in and out of the classroom,” said Embry-Riddle Interim President Dr. Karen A. Holbrook. “An initiative such as this reflects the unfailing commitment by the State of Florida, the aviation industry and higher education to instill valuable, affordable and quality skills, knowledge, experience and opportunity to its future.”