March 26, 2007

United, SIUC team up for aviation career day

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — About 90 Chicago-area students are expected to take the first steps toward an aviation career when they visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale next month.

The University's aviation programs will host United Airlines-SIUC Aviation Career Day on Saturday, April 14. High school and community college students interested in the aviation field are flying from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Carbondale to learn more about one of the nation's leading aviation programs.


Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews in northern Illinois interested in accompanying students to SIUC's Aviation Career Day on Saturday, April 14, should contact David A. NewMyer at 618/453-8898 by Friday, April 6. Seating is limited; check-in time is at 7 a.m. Members of the Southern Illinois media are welcome to attend the event and interview students and faculty. The plane will land at Southern Illinois Airport at about 8:45 a.m.


Aviation Career Days dates to 1994. The career day collaboration with a large airline is the only one in the nation, according to David A. NewMyer, chair of SIUC's aviation management and flight program.

"United Airlines has been one of our best supporters over time. Having them involved means a lot in terms of the long-term support we have had from the airline," NewMyer said.

United Airlines previously donated two aircraft to the University's aviation program. In addition, there are several hundred SIUC aviation alumni who work for the company.

Students, along with parents, teachers and chaperones, will depart from Chicago aboard a United Airlines flight at 8 a.m., and arrive about 45 minutes later at Southern Illinois Airport, between Carbondale and Murphysboro.

There, students will tour the aviation programs facilities, and 20 students will receive introductory flights based upon their grade point averages and essays about aviation students submitted with their applications. The students then bus to Carbondale to tour the main campus and hear a panel discussion from United Airlines personnel — also SIUC aviation program graduates — about their jobs and career opportunities in aviation management and flight and aviation technologies.

Students will arrive back in Chicago at about 4:30 p.m.

Of the more than 2.1 million jobs in aviation-related fields, 676,000 work for the airlines, NewMyer said.

Interest in aviation remains high, NewMyer said. Career Day events provide not only a great recruiting mechanism for SIUC's aviation programs, but also a chance for program alumni to visit the campus. NewMyer estimates that 10 to 15 percent of students accepted into one of SIUC's aviation programs attended a career day event.

"Having two airline career days is just a boon to our recruiting because the kids who want to fly or work as a mechanic identify with an airline so easily," NewMyer said. "Having a company like United Airlines sponsor career day is a natural fit."

NewMyer anticipates between 15 and 20 United Airlines employees — the flight deck crew, cabin crew and other volunteers who also are SIUC alums — will be on the flight.

The application deadline is Monday, April 2. Students interested in attending the event should contact NewMyer at 618/453-8898 or David L. Jaynes at 618/453-9300. An application for interested students is available at

The itinerary for the day is:

  • 7 a.m. — Check-in at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
  • 8 a.m. — Depart for Carbondale.
  • 8:45-9 a.m. — Arrive at Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 9-9:15 a.m. — Group photo on the ramp.
  • 9:15-11:15 a.m. — Airport tours and introductory flights in SIUC aircraft.
  • 11:15 a.m.-noon — Lunch.
  • Noon — Students depart for campus.
  • 12:30-2 p.m. — Aviation careers panel discussion; information on SIUC aviation programs and how to apply to SIUC.
  • 2-3 p.m. — Tours of campus.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Depart for Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 4:30 p.m. — Return flight arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.