Delta and Middle Georgia State University present partnership to pilot students

Over the next decade, Delta Airline is looking to hire 8,000 pilots because current pilots will be retiring and the airline is expecting to grow.

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EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT ) – Delta Airlines is looking to put thousands of pilots in the sky over the next decade. But, they’re getting some help from a local college to fill those positions.

Delta Airlines is partnering with universities to introduce the Propel Program. What better way to kick-off the program than in Delta’s home state of Georgia. Middle Georgia State University is one of eight universities to have this program, but the first to officially launch it.

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“I’m the first pilot in my family. It’s always been something that’s [been] interesting to me and something that not everybody gets to see and experience seeing the world a couple thousand feet up in the air,” Danny Maldonado, a senior at Middle Georgia State University, said.

Sky is the limit for Maldonado, who’s graduating in December.

“It definitely means the world to hopefully be working for Delta one day,” he said.



Because of the new Propel Program,  Maldonado’s dream of becoming a pilot for Delta, is in the horizon.

“That is a career program for pilots and we’re able to help our students go on and have amazing careers as Delta Airline pilots,” Middle Georgia State University President Christopher Blake said.

The Propel Program is like an on-campus internship. Student’s apply and if accepted, Propel helps them complete the program so then they have a job at Delta.

“We’ve already had a long tradition of educating and training our students to go on in careers and Delta noticed the quality of our students,” Blake said.

Over the next 10-years, Delta Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations Steve Dickson says they’re hiring eight to nine thousand pilots. The need comes from pilots retiring and growth.

“We’re actually taking delivery of hundreds of new air crafts and the airline is growing both domestically and internationally,” Dickson said.

Students say the Propel Program is their runway to success.