United Launches Apprenticeship Program to Grow and Diversify Aviation Technician Pipeline

United Airlines announced the launch of Calibrate, an internal learning program that will help grow and diversify its pool of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs). The inaugural class begins next week in Houston as the airline plans to train more than 1,000 people at a dozen sites by 2026, with the goal that at least half will be women or people of color .

Calibrate is a 36-month program where participants “earn and learn” by getting paid while completing the full-time certification and training process. Since participants are paid while training, they waive the cost of attending a technical school, which can cost up to $50,000.

United will begin accepting external applications in early 2023. Interested applicants can sign up to receive more information about Calibrate at https://careers.united.com/us/en/calibrate.

“Calibrate is a great opportunity for people who want to pursue a rewarding career as an aircraft technician, but don’t have the resources or support they need to attend traditional technical schools or colleges,” said said Rodney Luetzen, vice president of online maintenance at United. . “This program will provide life-changing opportunities, help diversify our workforce and give us access to an even larger pool of talented, skilled and motivated people.”

The apprenticeship program, a joint effort between United, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Federal Aviation Administration, accelerates the path to becoming a United AMT while expanding the airline’s ranks of equipment mechanics. ground service and installation technicians.

United expects the second cohort of Calibrate apprentices to start in early 2023, also in Houston, and then expand to more than a dozen locations, including San Francisco and Orlando.

The program will aim to help apprentices acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to test and obtain their A&P certificate, including hands-on and classroom training. Additionally, participants will be mentored by world-class United technicians, building relationships and gaining union seniority as they progress through the program.

“The Airline Division has done an excellent job of promoting the occupation of aircraft maintenance technician,” said Sean O’Brien, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “This program creates the diversity Teamsters are known for and will provide great jobs not only for our current Teamster members, but also for the next generation.”

United has approximately 9,000 highly trained and certified aircraft maintainers worldwide, with combined salaries and benefits totaling more than $140,000 at the top of their pay scale. These are high-skilled jobs — the airline is actively recruiting from trade schools and the military — and United is providing an on-ramp to this career through entry-level positions. Several United executives started out as aircraft mechanics, including the airline’s current vice president of line maintenance.

Currently, United has Base Maintenance AMTs, Line Maintenance AMTs, Shop AMTs, Inspectors and other licensed professionals at 50 locations worldwide. The airline plans to open new line maintenance stations in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, later this year and in Fort Myers-Southwest, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, in early 2023.

Earlier this year, United officially opened the United Aviate Academy, welcoming the first class of student pilots, 80% of whom were women or people of color, surpassing the airline’s goal of training around 5,000 new pilots in school by 2030 with at least half being women or people of color. Supported by scholarship commitments from United and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color, to pursue careers as commercial airline pilots, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.

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