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October 22, 2020

Cleveland, Ohio – United Airlines has committed to cultivating the next generation of pilots and aviation industry professionals in Northeast Ohio through an unprecedented partnership with an urban public high school. Today, United announced an agreement with Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School and co-founder PHASTAR Corporation to provide students with meaningful opportunities to pursue careers in aviation through internships, mentorships, and hands-on technical training, in addition to providing funding to cover the cost of internships and flight training for dozens of aspiring aviators each year.

Co-founded in 2017 through a unique private-public partnership between PHASTAR Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Davis A&M exists to provide underrepresented students the opportunity to pursue their passion and interest in both the aviation and maritime industries. It is the only aerospace and maritime high school in the United States.

Through its partnership with Davis A&M and PHASTAR, United will help to embed authentic, real-world opportunities at the core of the student experience, as well as bolster United’s mission to drive diversity and inclusion by preparing Davis graduates for futures in the aviation industry. Students will build the skills needed to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and the firsthand training opportunities provided through the United partnership will help to bridge the opportunity gap.

“This partnership provides cutting edge opportunities for the students at Davis A&M,” said Principal Tim Jones. “I can’t imagine a more engaging way to apply math and science to the real world than flying an airplane or running a business. Thanks to United Airlines, these experiences are now embedded into the core of the school.”

Under the terms of the agreement, United will provide paid internships for 20 to 30 students annually, immersing them in the technical aspects of aircraft maintenance, engineering and other areas of the airline industry. The internship experience will be tailored to a student’s aptitudes and interests, and will include mentorship opportunities.

PHASTAR will continue to provide flight training for students, with United covering the costs for up to 12 students per year. By beginning their flight training while still in high school, participants will get a head start on earning a pilot’s license through United’s Aviate program, which seeks to increase and diversify applicants for future pilot openings.

“United’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion extends beyond the boundaries of our airline, and into the communities we proudly serve,” said Phil Griffith, United’s Vice President of Technical Operations and Supply Chain. “This partnership with Davis A&M will enhance the student curriculum, enrich our workforce in ways we can’t even imagine, and offer a pathway for the next generation of aircraft technicians and pilots.”

Davis students will also have a chance to explore the supply chain side of the airline business, with United agreeing to purchase supply chain components that will be manufactured by students in the Davis A&M FabLab. Student involvement in this aspect, which is aligned to the school’s new CTE Engineering pathway, will include product production, packaging/shipping, accounting/financial reporting, marketing and preparing RFPs for additional projects.

“We have worked for more than a decade to create a high school that has real world links to the excitement and opportunity of the Aerospace and Maritime industries. United’s investment and support in our vision, our staff and our kids is confirmation that we have charted the right course,” said Captain Drew Ferguson, PHASTAR President.

United will also receive a seat on the PHASTAR Board of Directors, which will help facilitate partnership components and provide for their strategic involvement in aligning school outcomes to authentic industry needs.

“The Cleveland Plan, our blueprint for education reform, calls for providing students with real-world experience that serves as a gateway to careers,” CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said. “This unique public-private partnership is an outstanding example of how we can expose them to different fields and show them options.”

Following the successful launch of its Davis A&M partnership in Cleveland this fall, United hopes to create similar programs in cities across the United States that will give additional underrepresented students the opportunity to have immersive career experiences with the airline.

PHASTAR Corporation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation born out of vision to improve the quality of education and public services in Northeast Ohio. PHASTAR currently includes three areas of operation: Education, Aerospace, and Maritime. PHASTAR conceived and co-founded Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School. For more information visit www.phastar.org.

Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School is a cutting-edge public high school designed for students who wish to pursue their curiosity or passion for aerospace or maritime in a supportive environment that prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship. Founded in 2017 through a unique private-public partnership between PHASTAR Corporation and the CMSD, Davis A&M includes 9th through 12th grade, and will have its first graduating class at the end of the 2020-21 school year. For more information visit www.davisam.org.


Drew Ferguson, President