Per the company’s press release, “Boeing is investing $950,000 in scholarships for pilot training to grow and diversify talent required to meet significant long-term demand for commercial airplane pilots.”
Of the almost million-dollar investment, $500,000 will be funding 25 scholarships with five aviation organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to training future pilots: Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Latino Pilots Association, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, and Women in Aviation International.
The other $450,000 is going “to Fly Compton, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that introduces minority youth to career opportunities in aerospace. This 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.”
Executive vice president of Government Operations at Boeing Ziad Ojakli said, “The demand for qualified and diverse pilots remains high at airlines worldwide. While becoming a pilot provides a lifelong career, access to training remains a barrier to entry for many.” “These organizations are helping the next generation of pilots realize their full potential while also showing communities that are historically underrepresented in the industry that a future in aviation is possible,” Ojakli continued.
Boeing predicts the long-term demand for new aviators will remain high, with current projections of needing more than 600,000 new pilots to “fly and maintain the global commercial fleet over the next 20 years.”
This isn’t a one-off either. In the past six years, Boeing has invested more than $8.5 million, bringing pilot training programs into communities with underrepresented populations across the country.
In 2021, Boeing surprised Black high school senior Cailey Stewart with a $50,000 scholarship to her dream flight school. Steward was over the moon when she heard the news, stating “I wanted to become a pilot since I was [in the] 5th grade,” adding “I want to be a pilot and get people to places they want to go…I really want to see more black female pilots, because it is really inspiring to me.”