University signs agreement with airline to hire grads


Kent State Provost Diacon met with officials from CommutAir to sign a contract agreement to hire graduate students from Kent State University’s Aeronautics Division to work at places like Cleveland Airport and United Airways. Photo by Jacob Byk

Alicia Balog

A new agreement between the university and an airline offers Kent State aeronautics graduates job opportunities in a job market that has been stagnant for the past few years.

Kent State University Provost Todd Diacon and representatives from CommutAir, which provides express flights for United Airlines, signed Tuesday the agreement to hire up to 20 graduates from the aeronautics program a year.

This agreement, effective Aug. 1, was born out of a conversation between CommutAir’s safety officer and associate professor Richard Mangrum. It is the first to guarantee jobs to Kent State grads, Diacon said. The university has other agreements with regional airlines, but those agreements only guarantee interviews with those airlines.

Despite little growth in the job market during the past few years, Diacon said now a generation of commercial pilots is retiring and the military isn’t turning out as many pilots, so airlines, like CommutAir, are looking to hire young pilots.

“It’s a great relationship because we turn out outstanding pilots,” he said. “Now when they follow a specific regimen or a specific curriculum and do what’s included in this special agreement, they’ll be guaranteed employment with CommutAir.”

Captain Nick DeLotell, director of training with CommutAir said Kent State students, specifically pilots and aircraft dispatchers can job shadow directors and managers and then intern with the company.

“And ultimately [they] go through our job interview process and find that knowing that that job is out there, people are usually a little more motivated and more excited as they go through their collegiate programs, knowing there is a light at the end of a tunnel,” DeLotell said.

Joel Raymond, executive vice president of CommutAir, wrote that “[t]he value of CommutAir establishing a bridging agreement with a quality aviation program, such as Kent State, provides us with a more robust pool of qualified applicants. We view this relationship as one very important piece of a very complex puzzle in assuring our operation is staffed with the highest qualified aviators.”

Contact Alicia Balog at [email protected].