Under the program that Southwest and TSU created, students would study at the university to get their bachelor’s degree, but would also get a chance to obtain a pilot’s certificate, Big League Politics reported.
After completing the coursework, recent graduates would be able to work at smaller airlines, but eventually would have a chance to work at Southwest.
Southwest pilots will be mentoring TSU graduates throughout the whole process.
Terence Fontaine, the director of aviation at TSU, said that there are not a lot of aviation programs at historically black colleges and universities, and there are even fewer of those programs that own airplanes.
“There are nine HBCUs with aviation programs,” he said. “Only three of them own their airplanes. Texas Southern University owns our own airplanes.”
According to Lee Kinnebrew, Southwest’s vice president of flight operations, Southwest needs to diversify its staff.
“Well, we know we have work to do and need to do and really and truly want to do from a pilot perspective,” he said. “We do want to have a diverse workgroup. We want to represent not only the customers but the communities we fly to.”
While heroic figures such as the Tuskeegee airmen helped debunk the segregation-era notion that black pilots were inferior to white ones, there remains a strong disparity in the number of minorities pursuing the high-pressure job, whith a 2019 report estimating only about 3% of commercial pilots in the US were black.
In addition to Southwest, at least two other leaders in air travel have said they were exploring options such as HBCU recruitment and minority hiring quotas.
The prioritization of “diversity over being qualified for the job” is not going to end up well for America, noted the Big League Politics article.
“The normalization of diversity of schemes in all facets of life is a concerted effort to dispossess legacy Americans,” it said.
“Moreover, it will accelerate civilizational decay as millions of unqualified individuals are placed in key positions that are supposed to keep our society going,” said the article. “This will lead to reduced living standards and a general dumbing down of society. The full-fledged embrace of [’] wokism [’] will do far more damage to the US than any conventional army from its peer competitors.”