Envoy Partners With TCC With Pilot Shortage Looming

Thursday, April 24th 2014, 5:07 pm
By: News On 6

In a time when few of us have job security, let alone a five-year-plan, Envoy, formerly American Eagle Airlines is offering Tulsa Community College students a job out of college and $10,000 in tuition reimbursement.

With this pipeline program, Envoy is trying to make up for a shortage of pilots. Thousands of pilots are hitting the mandatory pilot retirement age of 65. One study predicts 18,000 pilots will retire through 2022.

Now, flight students are totally fine with this new opportunity to pick up their pilot jobs.

"Say, this is your path and we can guarantee that there is a job waiting for you at the end of this path," said Envoy pilot and TCC Graduate, Robert Bowlin.

Sounds like a dream come true for any college student. Graduate and Envoy will guarantee you a job, plus, thousands of dollars in tuition reimbursement.

"The opportunities they can provide for us as a student. That's incredible! We didn't have any of that before," said flight student Drew Falls.

Falls wants to fly for a major airline.

"It's kind of a distant thing, but seeing them here at the school kind of brings it here a little closer to home," said Falls.

TCC Chief Flight Instructor, Matthew Wise, said, "They want to put a name to the face to the airline because they want to have presence here."

Wise said the lack of pilots has been looming for years.

"It's huge. And if you think it's huge here, go international and see how huge it is," he said.

He said his students are positioned perfectly to get a pilot job, and now there's a direct path.

"Isn't it great? You know they can come in and know they're going to have a pipeline to a major airline. The career path is there for them," said Wise.

Bowlin said he understands why there's a pilot shortage, and it's not just because of the retirement age.

"Frankly, I think a lot of people are doing the math, saying it costs a lot to get there and there may not be that initial return on investment," Bowlin said.

That's what Envoy is trying to improve with this job guarantee and $10,000 in tuition.

"It's a huge opportunity, and it's something to look forward to, for sure," Falls said.

Envoy pilots, like Bowlin we talked to in the story, will go to flight classes throughout the semester to work with students.

This program is also at Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Spartan.