Aviation and Minorities
Every once in a while someone will ask me why we do not yet have any Black or African American scholarship recipients, so I decided to address this in this blog. The simple answer is that we have few minority applicants. Included in the application itself we have a demographic survey that the applicant can complete if they choose to. About 80% of applicants answer the questions regarding their race, family income and how they found out about our programs. We use this information in several ways – most importantly, to continue to identify ways to disseminate information about our Foundation to anyone interested in aviation including minorities. Interestingly enough, within the current pilot population, women are also considered a minority.
So back to the applicant survey, this past year 60% applicants were Caucasian, 7% Asian Pacific, 7% Latin American, 6% African American and 3% multiracial. So although each application is assigned a number and all identifiers – name, address, gender, race are removed and not seen by the scholarship committee, the odds are not great for minority applicants right now. As a way to try to encourage aviation as a career to minority students, we provide a free outreach initiative called “A Pilot You May Be”, an interactive program that introduces elementary school age children to the world of flight.
With all that being said, we do not select scholarship recipients based on ethnicity. The Foundation is making a significant investment in someone’s future when we award a scholarship, and we select the most qualified applicants.
There are some professions where I think most people are not concerned about gender or ethnicity – they just want the best. I happen to be in one of those professions; I’m a nurse. And I happen to be good at my job. No one has ever requested someone of another ethnicity to care for them. And when I get on a plane, I want to know that I’m flying with the finest, that the most qualified pilots are in the cockpit, wouldn’t you?