Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has just received its first major grant from Boeing to help with training future aviation maintenance workforce.
Boeing plans to establish a $3 million permanent endowment for scholarships at the university for students interested in pursuing certificates in aviation maintenance or a pilot’s license. The scholarships will help cover costs of flight training, maintenance training and certification costs related to Embry-Riddle’s pilot training and aviation maintenance programs.
The university—which offers an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree and certificate in aviation maintenance—had more than 400 aviation maintenance students enrolled as of fall 2017 across its campuses. According to a spokesperson for the university, Embry-Riddle’s degree programs provide students with hands-on experience working with airworthy equipment while working as non-certificated employees within the university’s FAA Part 145 engine repair station during their last semester.
Boeing’s 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook forecasts that the industry will need 754,000 new maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. To help meet this demand, the scholarships will seek to increase the number of women, persons of color and veterans in the workforce.
“Through this grant, we’ll help more students—with more diverse backgrounds—learn with greater efficiency and perform more effectively once on the job,” said Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenberg at the 18th Annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit.
Although the grant is Boeing’s first to Embry-Riddle, the OEM has previously partnered with the university to support various scholarships, student organizations and outreach and retention programs, such as Boeing’s Learning Together Program which provides tuition support to employees for professional development.
According to a spokesperson for Boeing, the OEM recently added Embry-Riddle to its Engineering Accelerated Hiring Initiative program, which identifies top engineering schools across the country for recruitment and hiring. Boeing says the majority of Embry-Riddle graduates it hires go into the fields of aerospace engineering, business, supply chain and finance.
Embry-Riddle and Boeing are still working out the details of how many scholarships the donation will fund, but the university expects to make them available as early as this fall.
Earlier this year, the university received a commitment for scholarships related to its partnership in the FedEx Purple Runway career pathways program, which focuses on pilot training.
According to a spokesperson for Embry-Riddle, the university is engaged in a wide range of initiatives focused on recruiting a diverse student body, including its Women Ambassadors Program and its FIRST Women mentoring program. The university also recently ranked first for the fourth consecutive year as U.S. News & World Report’s best online bachelor’s degree program for military veterans.