SE aviation students guaranteed jobs after graduation

By Jessica Breger Staff Writer jbreger@civitasmedia.com

September 28, 2013

Southeastern Oklahoma State University now has a way to guarantee some of its students a job directly after graduation.

Aviation Students at Southeastern no longer have to worry about taking the normal 12 to 24 months to find a job as a pilot after graduating college.

Southeastern signed two agreements Friday morning with American Eagle Airlines joining programs that offer students piloting jobs straight out of college.

According to a press release from the university, the agreements will “establish the American Eagle Pipeline Program that begins while Southeastern students are still enrolled at the university and culminates with a guaranteed position for the student at American Eagle as a first officer.”

Students will be recruited starting their sophomore year at Southeastern, a stage that Director of Pilot Recruitment Nick Alford said airlines typically aren’t involved in.

The press release stated just how the process works. “To join the program, candidates will need to be enrolled in the Southeastern aviation program and meet certain screening and application standards.

Once they are in the program, participants will be monitored and mentored through graduation. After graduation they will serve as certified flight instructors for Southeastern, while being able to enjoy the privileges and benefits of being an American Eagle employee. Once these individuals obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s required flight hours for commercial passenger airline pilots, they can then begin serving as first officers for American Eagle.”

Students hired by American Eagle will also receive a $10,000 signing bonus after obtaining 1,000 hours of flight time.

The 1,000 flight hours is a requirement from the FAA to become a commercial airline pilot.

“This is definitely a historic moment not only for the school but for American Eagle,” said Alford.

He also said, “it’s all about the students here.”

Alford said the program is designed to cultivate students for future professions and also is a way for the airline to find qualified, quality pilots.

The program was brought to Southeastern through American Eagle first officer and Southeastern Alumni Chris Ferguson.

Ferguson learned about the program last year and wanted to introduce it Southeastern. He said this will not only help the airline find quality pilots, but will act as a good recruitment tool for the college by taking away the worry of finding a job after college.

Southeastern President Larry Minks said, “This will establish a very rich heritage and tradition in aviation and the university.”

Sophomore Morgan Hartwell is an aviation student at Southeastern and she said she feels this program is a great opportunity.

She said that she likes that the airline will be working with students and helping them to know just what to expect after college. “It’s a great future for us as pilots,” said Hartwell.