Alaska Airlines partners with CBU for $50,000 tuition assistance pilot development program

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Photo credit: Alaska Airlines

INLAND EMPIRE – Alaska Airlines True North Pilot Development program is now being offered at Cal Baptist University (CBU) with $50,000 tuition assistance.

According to Alaska Airlines, True North is a recruitment program, aimed at hiring BIPOC pilots, with significant investments in their future aviation leaders.

CBU is the first True North partner on the West Coast.

Students can receive up to $50,000 in flight training tuition support and a direct path to becoming a first officer for Alaska upon graduation. First year first officers earn $100 per hour.

Criticism of aviation diversity programs

The True North program was launched by Alaska in 2021 as a commitment to increase diversity among Alaska Airline pilots. 

According to the 2023 US Bureau of Labor & Statistics Report, of the 211,000 commercial pilots employed in the United States, only 3.9% are Black. 

The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) wrote an open letter, last month, to address recent unfounded claims regarding the qualifications of Black commercial pilots.

“The history of Black contributions to aviation is profound and dates back to pioneers such as Bessie Coleman, Chauncey Spencer, Janet Bragg, Willa Brown, Cornelius Coffee the Tuskegee Airmen, Marlon Green, and many other pioneers who persevered in the face of racism and inequity and paved the way for the excellence we uphold today,” said the OBAP letter.

The letter goes on to say that diverse perspectives contribute to well-rounded decision-making processes, ultimately benefiting all passengers and stakeholders involved. 

True North at CBU

CBU is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify qualified aviation flight graduates for an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with reduced aeronautical experience.

Selection for Alaska’s True North program includes screening by CBU’s faculty to identify students for the program. Once a student successfully earns their instrument rating through CBU, it is expected that Alaska will interview and select students to receive tuition assistance along with conditional offers of employment. 

Upon graduation and completion of airline transport pilot requirements, students in the program will commit to being employed with Alaska or Horizon Air for a combined total of five years.  

For more information about the CBU Aviation program visit https://calbaptist.edu/academics/schools-colleges/engineering/department-of-aviation-science/

RELATED: JP Morgan Chase funds $2.4M for Flight Academy

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