Boeing, pilots

Boeing Announces Nearly $1M Scholarship Program To Train Pilots From Underrepresented Communities

Boeing launched a $950,000 scholarship program to train pilots from underrepresented communities, Essence reports.

According to a statement from the leading aerospace company and plane manufacturer, the award will be split in two ways. Around $450,000 will be used to encourage minority youth to pursue careers in aerospace. The amount will be given to Los Angeles-based nonprofit Fly Compton. According to the written statement, the “investment will increase flight training classes offered to students in L.A.’s Compton community and introduce career topics related to designing, building and maintaining airplanes and drones.”

The award will make a big impact on the organization. Demetrius Harris, president and executive director for Fly Compton, said the donation would help break down entry barriers into the piloting profession. Harris said, “At Fly Compton, we know that lack of exposure, access to resources, and the high cost of flight training prevents underrepresented populations from exploring careers in aviation. We focus on eliminating these barriers to entry, and this funding package from Boeing helps us continue this important work.” 

Five organizations will be awarded the remaining $500,000. The organizations include the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, Women in Aviation International, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Latino Pilots Association. Boeing will award 25 total scholarships with the help of each organization.

Boeing’s nearly $1 million commitment will help Black pilots enter the profession. Samantha Whitfield, executive director for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, spoke about the barriers aspiring Black pilots face. “Funding flight training is often one of the greatest barriers for students of color pursuing a pilot career. Scholarship partners like Boeing provide the much-needed support to fuel the careers of aspiring aviators,” Whitfield said. 

The future of Black pilots matters. BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported airlines looked to recruit Black pilots to fill a shortage when COVID-19 hit the U.S.