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United Airlines, SIU partnership aims to help students and industry

United Airlines Logo

Leaders call the Aviate program a win-win

SIU Aviation students now have another path to careers flying commercial airlines, thanks to a new partnership.

United Airlines' Aviate program partners with aviation schools across the country, creating a pipeline for pilots and allowing them a more direct path to the flight deck.

Monica Frain is a United Captain, and Senior Manager with Aviate. She says the company's partnership with SIU is a logical choice.

"Two-thirds of Southern Illinois University students come from the Chicagoland area, and we're a company that's headquartered in Chicago. So this allows us to recruit homegrown talent from within our own state, and staff our airline with the best pilots."

The Aviate program allows students to use their training in school to get a step ahead as they continue training with regional carriers, and then with United itself.

SIU President Dan Mahony calls it a win-win for the university and for United, helping students get jobs and the company fill vacancies amid a global pilot shortage.

“In an ever-evolving global economy, it’s all the more important that universities and businesses join together to create valuable partnerships both for research and design as well as university to business employee pipelines,”

Experts predict a need for thousands more pilots over the next decade.

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