Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Southern) have joined ​Delta's Propel Pilot Career Path Program this year. Applications are open through Sept. 17.
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​Delta's Propel Pilot Career Path Program launched in 2018 to supplement pilot hiring needs by offering an accelerated path to the flight deck for selected students and employees. Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Southern) have joined the program this year, opening this career path to even more students. Students at SIU, Southeastern and 12 other partner universities can apply through Sept. 17.

After a rigorous interview and evaluation process, Delta will offer successful candidates a qualified job offer detailing a defined path and accelerated timeline to become a pilot. In addition, selected candidates will accumulate flight hours by instructing at the university where they trained, and then will have the option to fly for one of the Delta Connection Carriers or fly military aircraft for the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve. Delta pilots will provide one-on-one mentoring to selected candidates. 

SIU and Southeastern bring highly regarded aviation programs to the roster.

“This is the beginning of two new partnerships committed to ensuring the success of the students at outstanding institutions and providing Delta with quality candidates,” said First Officer and Propel liaison Courtney Copping. “Seeing is believing, and the Propel program shows students a defined path of how to achieve their dreams of flying for Delta.”

First Officer and Propel liaison Will Weiss said: “As a Southeastern alumni and Delta pilot, I’m very excited that Delta is adding Southeastern to the Propel program. The opportunities for current students are amazing, unlike any opportunities I had offered to me. Having a guaranteed job offer from Delta is an incredible opportunity. I hope to see many more Southeastern graduates here soon.”

“We are honored that Delta Air Lines has selected SIU Aviation as a partner in the Delta Propel program,” said Michael Burgener, interim director of SIU’s School of Aviation. “This partnership will benefit our aviation students by offering them a defined pathway from school to employment as professional pilots at Delta. The students and faculty have been looking forward to this program a great deal. This structured pathway will help them achieve their career goals in a faster, accelerated fashion.”

“On behalf of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Aviation Sciences Institute, we are extremely pleased that Delta Air Lines has recognized the excellence of our flight training and academic training programs. We sincerely look forward to providing Delta Air Lines top-rated airline pilot candidates for many years,” said Michael G. Gaffney, director of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute.

About Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the aviation program

Founded in 1869, SIU has an enrollment of about 11,000 students, with nearly 36% being minority students. SIU Carbondale is a doctoral research institution enrolling students from throughout the U.S. and around the world. In addition to several colleges, SIU has a School of Medicine and a School of Law. With a commitment to access, the university provides distinctive programs, including aviation, automotive, fermentation science, forensic psychology and much more. SIU is committed to ensuring that students graduate with the knowledge, experience, critical-thinking skills and cultural competencies they need to make a difference in our world.

“This partnership will enhance our continued efforts to train the next generation of pilots from SIU Aviation and connect our students with professionals in the field our young pilots will enter,” SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane said. “This agreement fits well with our strategic plan’s partnership pillar, which includes forging new relationships with key allies. We’re excited about this new collaboration with Delta Air Lines and the opportunities it will provide our students.”

SIU’s nationally recognized and comprehensive aviation program recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Since the university purchased a fixed-based operator at Southern Illinois Airport in December 1960, the program’s growth includes multiple degree programs, a state-of-the-industry facility and more than 600 students. Currently the School of Aviation encapsulates aviation technologies, aviation management and aviation flight programs with multiple degree offerings.

Information about SIU’s School of Aviation can be found at

About Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Aviation Sciences Institute

Southeastern Oklahoma State University first opened its doors to students in 1909, as Southeastern State Normal School in Durant, Oklahoma. From 1909 to 1974, the school expanded and established itself as the name it is today with over 60 degree programs. Today, over half the student population is first-generation college students.

The Aviation Sciences Institute (ASI) is the aviation operations department of Southeastern and has a rich history of academic and professional pilot accomplishments dating back 55 years. Its mission is to provide its students with the highest quality aviation education and flight training possible. ASI has a Professional Pilot and Aviation Management degree focus areas and operates classroom and flight training at the Durant campus and classroom academics at Tinker Air Force Base and Rose State College in Oklahoma City. The Professional Pilot degree program is accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) and adheres to tight academic, safety and flight training standards of excellence and professionalism. 

To that end, the Aviation Sciences Institute provides our students with the most current information, technology, and personalized training available in the aviation profession.

“The aviation program at Southeastern has been a symbol of success for more than fifty years, attracting students from across the country,” said President Dr. Thomas Newsom. “This partnership with the Delta Propel Pilot Career Path Program is a great fit for our Aviation Sciences Institute and will provide additional career opportunities for our aviation students.”

Information about the Aviation Sciences Institute can be found at

Propel partner institutions include:

The first Propel-trained pilot is expected to enter the flight deck by 2022, if not sooner.