Delta uses the power of its partnerships to continue building diverse talent pipelines

As part of Delta’s broader diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, the airline prioritizes partnerships with organizations that help build a diverse pipeline of top talent – inclusive of those who may have historically been left behind due to systemic barriers.

Building diverse talent pipelines is a key component of Delta’s journey to create a resilient and equitable organization, which is why we’re thrilled to partner with the U.S. Army as part of their Army Partnership for Your Success program, as well as HBCUs and Delta-sponsored professional basketball teams who play in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City and Salt Lake City for the new Delta Business Class program.

Army Partnership For Your Success (PAYS) Program

On January 17, Delta hosted the Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Signing Ceremony at the Delta Flight Museum to commemorate an official partner agreement with the U.S. Army PaYS Program – a strategic partnership between the U.S. Army and select corporations, companies and public sector agencies that connects enlisting soldiers and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Cadets to interviews and potential full-time employment following their service in the Army.

As part of this agreement, Delta will post full-time positions to the PaYS database that match future job vacancies with the job skills offered by the U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard and U.S Army Reserve.

“With 11,000 veterans across our Delta teams, we understand the valuable skill sets veterans offer that contribute to our success as a leading global airline,” said Chief Operating Officer and Veteran Mike Spanos in his opening remarks. “This relationship with Army PaYS is a key part of our commitment to build a robust military talent pipeline to support veterans’ transition to civilian careers.”

U.S. Army officials including Captain Gilchrist Christian, Company Commander of Atlanta Recruiting Company, and Lieutenant General Maria Gervais, Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, joined the ceremony to share the PaYS Program strategic vision and welcome Delta as an official partner.

Delta’s partnership with the Army PaYS Program comes in addition to existing partnerships with FourBlock,, Military MOJO and more, that Delta’s Talent Acquisition team has engaged to drive veteran recruitment through our Skills-First talent strategy. Skills First is an equitable approach to hiring that focuses on capabilities, competencies and relevant skills in the hiring process, accelerating career mobility and reducing barriers to entry into certain corporate roles.

“Veterans represent a talent pool that offers a wide range of valuable experience from leadership capabilities, technical skills, strategic problem-solving and more,” said Lisa Blackmon, Managing Director – Talent Acquisition. “Delta’s veteran recruitment strategy not only considers a veteran’s past, but the unique perspectives and experiences they offer that will drive Delta’s long-term success as an industry leader.”

Delta Business Class

With a goal of connecting people to places, their passions and their potential, Delta is introducing “Delta Business Class” – a sports business immersion program that will parlay Delta’s partnerships with Delta-sponsored professional sports teams who play in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City to create new avenues for students at four HBCUs (Grambling State University, Texas Southern University, Coppin State University and Moorehouse College) to pursue sports-related careers. The program aims to bridge the gap between education, experience and opportunity.

“In the same way we seek to connect the world through travel, programs like Delta Business Class allow us to connect the people in our communities to partners and organizations that will drive their future growth,” said Emmakate Young, Managing Director of Delta’s Partnerships and Sponsorships. “Our sports partners embody Delta’s core values of servant leadership and respect, and we’re proud to play a role in connecting them with future leaders from our network of HBCUs.”

Delta Business Class reinforces each team’s dedication to prioritizing diversity and inclusion, and as the Official Airline of each team, Delta will work with them to create bespoke programming that builds a runway for more students to learn about the business side of sports.

Starting Jan. 16, students embarked on a multi-month Delta Business Class course. The program begins with a two-day introduction course to the world of sports at Delta World Headquarters in Atlanta before the students set out to visit teams in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City in the coming months.

To commence the program, the students were welcomed with a unique culinary experience from Chef G. Garvin, Chief Culinary Officer of State Farm Arena, followed by intimate discussions with Stephanie Ready, TV broadcaster for NBA on TNT, and Renee Montgomery, sports analyst and co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. The two women shared their own career-defining experiences in the sports industries from the athlete, media, and executive perspective and advised on what to expect when navigating the sports industry as a people of color.

At the conclusion of the program, students will complete a final rotation in Salt Lake City before celebrating the past few months of learnings by attending a basketball game – home of the Utah Jazz – in Salt Lake City before celebrating the past few months of learnings by attending a Hawks at Jazz game.

About diversity, equity and inclusion at Delta

Delta, at every level of our organization, is committed to actively seeking diversity, boldly pursuing equity, and consciously promoting inclusion; not simply as percentages of representation, but as a necessary business imperative to drive systemic change that promotes equitable outcomes for all.

In 2020, Delta made a commitment to become an anti-discrimination, anti-racist organization. The company periodically updates progress toward its racial equity progress and has placed a focus on closing diversity gaps within its workforce so the diversity of their frontline is proportionally reflected in their leaders. Additionally, Delta is applying a “skills-first” talent mindset that focuses on capabilities, competencies, and relevant experiences through an Apprenticeship Program and Delta Analytics Academy – ultimately accelerating career mobility and reducing barriers to entry into certain corporate career roles.

Delta’s senior cross-divisional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, made up of nearly 30 executive leaders, ensures these strategies are embedded throughout the organization by evaluating corporate and divisional metrics, programs and proposals.

Twelve Business Resource Groups with over 34,000 actively engaged employees ensure that diverse perspectives are brought to the table, serving as strategists and thought leaders on business issues.

As a “Best Employer for Diversity,” Delta has been recognized by Forbes as “Best Employers for Veterans” and “Best Employers for Women” for three years in a row, one of “America’s Greatest Workplaces for LGBTQ+” by Newsweek and “World’s Most Admired Airline” by Fortune.

The article Delta uses the power of its partnerships to continue building diverse talent pipelines first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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