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Delta Propel doubles down on pilot diversity with second HBCU partnership

Delta Air Lines’ Propel Program has added Elizabeth City State University to its network of partner schools, emphasizing Delta’s commitment to strengthening the workforce pipeline and creating equitable opportunities in aviation.


Elizabeth City State University is joining Delta’s Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program, following Hampton University as the second historically Black university to join the program. This partnership marks another important milestone as the airline continues to focus on recruiting diverse talent and creating equitable pathways for careers in the aviation industry. 

Launched in 2018 as the first known pilot pathway program offered by a U.S. global carrier, Propel is one of Delta’s workforce development initiatives created to identify, select and develop the next generation of pilots. With the addition of ECSU, Delta partners with 16 postsecondary institutions across the U.S. to offer students a defined, accelerated path to becoming a Delta pilot. Upon selection to the program, students receive a qualified job offer for a pilot position at Delta.   

“Investing in ECSU and other collegiate programs that create greater representation within the aviation industry is a key component of Delta’s workforce diversity strategy,” said Eric Hendrick, Delta’s Director of Pilot Outreach. “And by creating these long-lasting relationships in the communities we serve, Delta also ensures the pipeline of top-notch pilots remains strong for years to come.”  

Founded in 1891, ECSU’s comprehensive aviation programs offer students a rigorous curriculum that aligns with the skills needed to become a Delta pilot. Committed to producing courageous, resilient, and empowered graduates, ECSU is an ideal partner school for Propel as its training reinforces Delta's core values.

“ECSU’s partnership with Delta Air Lines will provide a pipeline for Delta to recruit great talent to join their team; this is a win-win situation,” said Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, chancellor of ECSU.  “The presence of Delta Air Lines today is an indicator that we are soaring high. As chancellor, I affirm that we will do our part to ensure the success of this program. We will offer ‘excellence as the standard.’”

In addition to ECSU’s and Hampton University’s participation in Propel, Delta supports various initiatives at HBCUs across the country. Delta has committed over $1.5 million to 37 HBCUs through multiple UNCF grant programs and coordinates on-campus recruiting events for students to meet with Delta’s talent acquisition team through the airline’s “Delta Days” program.  

About Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City State University provides students with a high-quality, affordable education as one of North Carolina’s leading four-year public institutions that is part of the University of North Carolina System. ECSU offers the only four-year aviation science and unmanned aircraft systems degree programs in North Carolina.

The aviation science program’s five areas of specialization include flight education; aviation management; avionics; unmanned aircraft systems and professional aeronautics. Enrollment in the program totals more than 180 students, with nearly 60% of the student population underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

More information can be found on ECSU’s website.

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