BY BRANDON ETHEREDGE
Twenty aviation students recently received job offers through a partnership between Auburn University and Delta Air Lines.
The students are part of Delta Propel, a highly selective program which provides participants a Qualified Job Offer, or QJO, detailing a defined career path, allowing Auburn students to participate in an accelerated timeline to become a Delta pilot. This group of 20 nearly doubled the amount of those who have received job offers through the program since it began.
For Blake Adkins, a professional flight major who grew up near Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta, the opportunity solidified his decision to attend Auburn.
“Growing up, it was always my dream to be a Delta pilot,” Adkins said. “When Auburn began the partnership with Delta, I was in high school. I knew coming to Auburn would give me the best opportunity to see my dream come true.”
Auburn is one of only 14 universities, and the only one in the Southeastern Conference, that partners with Delta to secure career placements for students through the Propel program.
“We’re proud to partner with outstanding universities like Auburn around the country to give aspiring pilots a clear and defined path to a Delta flight deck,” said Patrick Burns, Delta’s vice president of flight operations and system chief pilot. “We’re looking forward to welcoming even more Tigers to our Delta family as we continue to bring the world’s best aviators to the world’s best airline.”
In addition to the qualified job offer, Propel students receive leadership development and personal mentoring from active Delta pilots.
“The College of Liberal Arts’ commitment to student excellence includes preparing our students for success during and after their time at Auburn,” said Ana Franco-Watkins, interim dean. “The partnership between Auburn and Delta is proof of the work being done at Auburn to ensure bright futures for our students.”
Auburn Aviation, one of the longest continually running aviation education programs in the country, provides the latest training in the classroom and in the cockpit. Adkins credits this training with making him a competitive candidate for the Propel program and a previous internship placement with Delta.
“The leadership opportunities and amazing professors in the Department of Aviation helped prepare me to take this next step,” Adkins said.
“Our partnership with Delta is a game-changer for Auburn Aviation,” said James Witte, department chair. “In addition to providing career opportunities for our students, the resources Delta and The Delta Air Lines Foundation have provided ensure that our students receive a world-class aviation education.”
Auburn and Delta have a longstanding relationship that has served students for many years. In 2018 Delta Air Lines, The Delta Air Lines Foundation and the Jacobson Family Foundation granted $6.2 million to support multiple programs at Auburn. The gift funded the construction of the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building, which serves as the home to the Department of Aviation, and also funded the purchase of an aircraft simulator and created endowed faculty professorships in the Department of Aviation.
Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.