SkyWest joins in collaboration to expand pilot training

Students enrolled in a pilot training offered by Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction have gained access to the SkyWest Airlines Pilot Pathway Program.

The partnership provides a career pathway for students who want to work as pilots for a commercial airline.

Students in the Pilot Pathway Program will receive mentorship by SkyWest pilots, enhanced company seniority, guaranteed final first officer interviews and seniority in ground school.

“SkyWest has a longtime presence in Grand Junction, which helped us turn their local presence into a new partnership,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “SkyWest is a large company whose potential future investments in our students will be beneficial to their work force and the quality of our pilot program.”

Brigitte Sundermann, vice president of community college affairs, said the partnership could lead to expanded pilot training. “As a division of CMU, WCCC shares in an entrepreneurial culture that exists on all CMU campuses. We work at being nimble and responsive when it comes to filling work force needs wherever we find them — on the ground or in the air,” Sundermann said. “We will spend the next several years working to grow the pilot program and strengthen our partnership with SkyWest.”

Angela Padalecki, executive director of the Grand Junction Regional Airport,  helped CMU in forming the partnership and said she’s excited about the collaboration.

“Working collaboratively to build aviation capacity in Western Colorado is important and may contribute to future partnerships we may not even contemplate today,” Padalecki said. “Hosting SkyWest representatives alongside CMU was a good opportunity to explore how the aviation community can work with CMU to expand the aviation work force moving forward.”

Under the new partnership, SkyWest will send aviation professionals and company experts to consult with the pilot training program on an ongoing basis.