In early 2021, Alaska Airlines committed to increasing its racial diversity at all levels by at least 30 percent during the next four years. In line with that goal, a group of Black Alaska Airlines pilots, led by captain Ron Limes, spent the past year looking for ways to make aviation a more attainable career path for aspiring pilots. That work led to the True North program.
The initiative, aimed at hiring individuals of ethnic and racial diversity, helps equip students with the required skills and confidence to fly a commercial airline. It includes internship and mentorship opportunities with pilots and reimburses the majority of lab fees for students' advanced training. The program will initially work with two historically Black colleges and universities in Delaware and Maryland.
Students who complete the program are guaranteed a first officer position with Horizon Air, the regional carrier for Alaska Air, following their graduation. They will also have a confirmed career path to Alaska Air.
"Education and opportunity transform the lives of talented young people. I am excited Alaska will help bring brilliant minds and the next generation into aviation," says Constance von Muehlen, COO of Alaska Airlines.