United is showing its commitment to the next generation of aviators from Houston area schools by taking a group of 100 students from Houston-area schools on a unique, 90-minute charter flight over Galveston Island in recognition of Juneteenth, where the last of enslaved people were granted their freedom on June 19, 1865.

“Houston Independent School District is proud of our one-of-a-kind partnership with United Airlines and their commitment to creating an equitable and inclusive workforce,” says Millard House II, Houston Independent School District. “The Juneteenth flight shows Sterling High School students that they can be part of the future of aviation.”

The Juneteenth flight is designed to spark interest in aviation and help grow a talent pipeline of future United employees. The students selected have never stepped foot in an airport, let alone fly in an aircraft.

The flight originates from Bush Intercontinental Airport and will pass over the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston, with education provided on the history of the holiday through narration. Upon return, the youth will attend information sessions and get tours of the airport. 

“At United, we’re taking action to build a culture of greater inclusion and belonging that better reflects the diversity of the communities we serve,” says Helon Hammond, Managing Director of Technical Operations & Maintenance Systems Technology at United & President of BEACON, United’s Black resource group. 

She continued, “Exposing area students to the various careers in aviation and a special flight commemorating the significance of Juneteenth to the Black community, especially in Texas and the greater Houston-Galveston region, is a reflection of our commitment to empower, elevate and educate.”

For the campaign, United is working with ConCreates, a creative agency powered by current and formerly incarcerated individuals, to tell the story of United’s Juneteenth flight and day-long career fair at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Through ConCreates’ relationship with Ms. Opal Lee, we are able to lend her voice via a pre-recorded message for the students and guest in attendance at the pre-flight gate event. ConCreates’ mission is to shatter the stigma associated with those who have criminal histories and provide people with a second chance and reduce recidivism.

“I am deeply grateful to United and BEACON for hosting an aviation career day in honor of Juneteenth, a special day in Texas and throughout the country now that it is a federal holiday,” says Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner. 

“United has always invested in our community and, in this case, is embracing students from underserved communities and introducing them to flight operations and the people who make it all work. I am confident this will enable young people to experience new opportunities and soar to heights they never imagined.”