Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation Launches, Vows to Bring 600 Minority & Women Pilots into Aviation Industry Annually

—Foundation aims to change current statistics: less than 3% of airline pilots are Black and less than 1% are women—

HENDERSON, Nev., Feb. 29, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation launched today during Black History Month with the goal of bringing 600 minority and women pilots per year into the aviation industry. By educating, inspiring and funding minority teens in aviation careers, the Foundation is poised to drive generational change by breaking the cycle of lack of advancement opportunities, and to help alleviate the significant pilot shortage in the United States.

Because of that shortage, major airline companies have dropped the need for a four-year degree as a prerequisite for employment as an airline pilot, opening opportunities to youth who may not realize that a career in aviation is now a possibility. Given that less than 3 percent of all airline pilots are Black, and less that 1 percent are women, the need for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programs like the Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation has never been greater.

“By educating underrepresented middle school and high school kids about our program to assist them in becoming a pilot and that all they need to do so is a high school diploma, and read and write English, the international language of aviation, we hope to inspire them to stay in high school and do well, knowing that their dream for a better life is waiting for them through the Foundation,” said Ron Kelly, founder of the Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation. “We are opening a huge door that leads right to a career in the sky where they can earn over $200,000 a year and change the trajectory of their whole family.”

In addition to launching the Foundation, Mr. Kelly, who is the CEO the Las Vegas Flight Academy (LVFA), will be awarded with the distinguished Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in recognition of 50 years of safe flying. Mr. Kelly will become one of a small group of African Americans to receive the distinguished award during the LVFA’s grand opening ceremony.

“Underrepresented youth need role models like Mr. Kelly who have climbed up the aviation corporate ladder and are now reaching back to help others,” said Dr. Alan Meyer, Associate Professor specializing in technology and aviation history at Auburn University, and author of Flying While Black, which investigates the slow pace of racial integration in the airline cockpit from the Civil Rights Era to present. “A foundation like this has been a long time coming, and in a way pays tribute to the unsung black aviation heroes like the Tuskegee Airman and others who were so deserving of opportunities like those offered by Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation but were not available at the time.”

About Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation

The Minority Pilot Advancement Foundation is a Nevada-based 501(c)(3), nonprofit public foundation established in 2022 to provide opportunities to underrepresented and disadvantaged youth across the United States who have been left behind. Its mission is to provide these youth with life-changing skills, career training and job placement in the aviation industry and construction trades, where demand for skilled talent is high. The Foundation will support youth whose circumstances put them at a disadvantage by providing them with the training and financial support they need to succeed in lifetime careers in the aviation and construction industries. The Foundation plans to raise $50 million by 2030.

Stacey Doss, APR