Hampton University has joined Delta's Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program, marking the airline's first collaboration with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

According to Delta's press release, the Propel program, launched in 2018, will help broaden diversity and build upon the legacy that people of color have contributed to aviation. Students at Hampton are now eligible to not only join the program but receive a job offer to become a Delta Pilot if they meet the airline's standards. 

First Officer Monique Grayson notes that adding Hampton University to Delta Air Lines as a Propel partner elicits many emotions.

"Adding Hampton University as a Delta Air Lines Propel partner evokes a myriad of thoughts and emotions," First officer Grayson said. "Delta says connecting the world requires that we first respect the world through seeking diversity, promoting inclusion, creating equity, and driving accountability towards these goals. Considering the history of HBCU's and that of Delta, I am proud to see the company doing just that. I am grateful to the individuals who have worked behind the scenes to provide opportunities to a group that has been underrepresented in this field for far too long."

The alliance with Hampton University aligns with Delta's broader goal to reimagine its recruitment strategy, including strengthening relationships with HBCUs.

In August 2020, Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian, stated that the airline is committed to racial justice and diversity. 

"We've also taken a hard look at our own record on diversity. People of color currently represent 43 percent of Delta's current employees, 35 percent of our overall leaders, and 18 percent of our top 100 officers, Bastian said. "But our Black colleagues represent 21 percent of our employee base, 16 percent of overall leaders, and 7 percent of our top 100 officers."

Bastian noted that as the leader of the Airlines company, he will be taking ownership of their performance and is committed to correcting their wrongs.

"That is not a picture of equity, nor is it reflective of the world we serve," Bastian said. "As your leader, I take ownership of that performance and am committed to correcting our course as we become a more just, equal, and anti-racist company."

In the memo, Bastian listed the airlines' actions to apply the new inclusion strategies within its company, including increasing the number of Black leaders to reflect the total number of employees and evaluating every Delta contract to ensure that suppliers adhere to anti-racist policies.

With Hampton University as the first HBCU to join Delta's pilot program, perhaps Delta is off to a good start.