Delta Air Lines Program Propels Kent State’s Flight Technology Students to Careers as Pilots

Kent State University’s nationally ranked Flight Technology program, in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, is one of only three nationwide that Delta Air Lines selected this year to become a Delta Propel Partner, a program that creates career opportunities for students studying to be future commercial pilots.

The new partnership was announced Sept. 13, at the FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center located at the Kent State University Airport, 4020 Kent Road, Stow, Ohio.

“We are excited to launch this partnership with Delta, a company who feels as passionate about education and our students' transition into industry as we do,” said Melody Tankersley, Kent State’s interim senior vice president and provost. “We are eager to begin what we expect to be a long and productive partnership that will have nationwide benefits.”

Through Delta’s Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path  program, the airline will interview, help train and recruit high-quality pilot candidates among Kent State students who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

“Kent State offers Delta an excellent avenue to source the next generation of talented and skilled pilots for Delta,” said Jim Graham, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations. “We’re thrilled to offer the Propel Program to Kent State students and to provide them with a defined path to becoming a Delta pilot.” 

Delta will provide mentors for students who participate in the program and from time to time other incentives and benefits to students and faculty in support of the program. The program will also provide testing units to be located at Kent State to assess potential candidates for the program.

Currently Kent State has 264 Flight Technology students, up from 216 during fall semester 2018.

“This recognition by one of the world’s largest global airlines is a testament to the excellent training and education provided by our faculty and staff and embodied by our alumni presently employed by Delta and its regional partners,” said Christina Bloebaum, Ph.D., dean, College of Aeronautics and Engineering.

Kent State will assist Delta in connecting with top-performing students by creating awareness of the program through marketing program materials, and the university will recommend and identify qualified flight instructors for Delta’s consideration.

This is a momentous time for the College of Aeronautics and Engineering as Kent State opens the new FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center, the first brick-and-mortar building at the Kent State University Airport. Kent State owns and operates the airport, which is four miles from campus in Stow and has the largest university fleet of aircraft, 32, in Ohio. 

It is especially meaningful because Delta’s first black woman pilot, Capt. Stephanie Johnson, is an alumna of Kent State, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Technology.

“I am proud to be a graduate of Kent State University, and I remember when 30 years ago we had to fight to keep the flight program alive,” Captain Johnson said. “Not only is it alive, but it is thriving.  I’m excited for the opportunities that the Propel partnership is going to create for Kent State, its students, and for Delta.”

To learn more about the College of Aeronautics and Engineering go to  For more information about Delta Air Lines go to

UPDATED: Thursday, July 25, 2024 11:45 AM
April McClellan-Copeland