Jan. 28 -- WARRENSBURG -- A new relationship promises a mutual benefit for the American Eagle airline company and the University of Central Missouri . "They really like our program and what we're doing, and they want to partner with UCM Aviation . They will hire every (certified flight instructor) student that our school can produce," UCM Assistant Dean of Aviation Tony Monetti said. UCM and American Eagle of Fort Worth announced Monday a program that could provide a $10,000 scholarship to aviation students who agree, upon graduation, to work at least two years for the company. American Eagle Pilot Recruitment Director Nick Brice told about 150 UCM students the American Airlines company offers unlimited travel; medical, vision and dental benefits; a 401k retirement plan; and paid vacation starting from the hiring date. "You get travel benefits on all of American Airlines group ," he said. "Which is awesome. We're the world's largest airline. We travel to thousands and thousands of destinations everywhere." Monetti said the offer is impressive. "Can you believe that?" Monetti asked privately. "After 1,000 hours at UCM as certified flight instructors, they then would work for American Eagle." American Eagle, apart from American Airlines , is the world's second-largest regional air carrier. The company offers hourly wages in the $26 to $45 range. "About seven different airlines formed into American Eagle," Brice said. "We currently have about 3,000 pilots and about 14,000 employees across the U.S., the Bahamas , even Cuba . We've got people everywhere and about 230 aircraft." Flying over islands is spectacular, he told the UCM students. "I don't know if you've ever flown to the islands, but it is pretty awesome -- breathtaking. I didn't really fathom how beautiful it is. You can actually see the coral when you're flying over it. It is really an exhilarating experience," Brice said. Students can take advantage of the offer because UCM meets federal aviation instructional requirements, Monetti said. The UCM aviation program's enrollment, after a 30 percent increase last year, is beyond 250, Monetti said. Once word about the American Eagle-UCM alliance becomes known, enrollment should increase further, Monetti said. The partnership with American Eagle is a product of teamwork within UCM, Monetti said. He first met with American Eagle representatives at a conference. "I shared with them our core values of integrity and excellence in all we do, service, relationships, joy and safety always, and that really intrigued them, and they asked if they could come visit," Monetti said. In August, American Eagle sent a representative to review UCM's aviation program. "What I encouraged them to do is to just go speak to our students and to go speak to our instructors -- anyone they wanted to," he said, and the UCM team displayed the excitement that dominates the program. "They came to me a little while later and said they are impressed with what they're seeing. ... It's the right relationship for them and they want to partner with us." The relationship will help American Eagle deal with a global pilot shortage, Monetti said. "They want to team up with flight schools that 'get it,'" Monetti said, and people in his program have professional credentials. "I said to them, look, I know what you want -- you want disciplined pilots who show up when they say they will, and they can fly an instrument approach, and get along with people in the cockpit. That's what we're doing here." Monetti, a former stealth bomber pilot, served as 13th Bomb Squadron operations director and chairs the NATO Time Sensitive Targeting Committee that works with business, military and government leaders. Assistant chief flight instructor Darlene Loeffler , who joined the team in fall 2012, served as a Pinnacle Airlines Inc. captain. "She's been instrumental in helping our team understand the importance of being on time, and being a disciplined pilot, and scheduling effectiveness," Monetti said. "She's been an integral part of our success." Maintenance director Steve Quick worked previously for Cessna . "He has completely revolutionized our maintenance to where they're so effective that they constantly are on target on 'turning' aircraft safely, quickly, and that has helped us schedule, with limited assets, more students," Monetti said. Based on what UCM offers, the program did not need revisions to meet American Eagle's needs, he said. "It was literally just us doing our job. The main thing they were very impressed with is our core values, because there's a problem with ethics in society a lot of times and when they see that we are proactively encouraging our students and our team to a life of integrity, of excellence, of caring for others in the community, encouraging volunteerism, they really like that, because they would really like their pilots to not just be showing up for work and getting a job, but being good pilots and caring for people," he said. UCM Provost Deborah Curtis signed the agreement with Brice for American Eagle at the University Conference Center . American Eagle's main bases and hubs include Dallas Fort Worth , Chicago O'Hare, Miami , Los Angeles and New York John F. Kennedy. "I'm so proud of our team," Monetti said, "and I really am proud of our president ( Charles Ambrose ) for helping us to get to where we're at." ___ (c)2014 The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) Visit The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) at www.dailystarjournal.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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