GRAND FORKS, N.D.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) has launched a program to recruit students exclusively from the University of North Dakota (UND) for careers as airborne law enforcement officers. Under the program, sophomore and junior students learn the foundation of federal law enforcement while continuing their studies at UND. AMO’s mission is to detect, sort, track, intercept and apprehend criminals using sophisticated aviation techniques.
“We constantly search for ways to assist our students in their careers and professional development, while providing solutions for real-world challenges such as the current pilot shortage,” said UND Aerospace Assistant Dean Ken Polovitz. “At UND Aerospace, we go beyond training and educating pilots to preparing individuals for leadership in government, business and industry.”
In its inaugural year, the AMO Pathways Program will provide up to 15 students the opportunity to work as aviation enforcement trainees. These students will be hired as federal employees with flexible full- or part-time schedules. Their responsibilities will include assisting with the development of operational plans for interdiction missions, interfacing with state and local law enforcement officials, and performing security liaison duties.
Upon graduation and successful completion of a polygraph, the trainees will convert to aviation enforcement agents (AEA) in Grand Forks or other AMO locations. Upon accrual of 1,000 flight hours, AEAs will be eligible to apply to the air interdiction agent (AIA) occupation. Operating out of 74 locations across the U.S., AMO has over 1,800 employees, including 700 pilots. Its fleet of more than 200 aircraft includes fixed-wing aircraft, such as the P-3 Orion, C-12/B200 and MQ-9 Predator B, and rotary-wing aircraft, such as the UH-60, AS350, EC120 and MEA helicopters. The location and type of aircraft flown by AIAs is determined by their duty location and mission needs.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for aviation students to earn a part-time salary while being trained for a challenging and rewarding career to serve and protect the American people,” said Christopher Wiyda, deputy director for AMO’s northern region. “These young aviators are our nation’s future experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement, and can earn over $100,000 annually after two years of full-time service.”
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, UND Aerospace offers the most technologically advanced flight training complex of any public university and was the first to establish an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations. It owns and operates a fleet of over 150 aircraft and flight training devices, and provides pilot training to nearly 2,000 students from 12 different countries amassing approximately 150,000 flight hours per year. Students can earn private pilot, commercial pilot and certified flight instructor certificates, and are often employed as flight instructors on-site.
To be eligible for the Pathways Program, an applicant must be a current UND Aerospace student, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and pass a background investigation and drug test. Approximately 80 students applied for the program in October 2017 and, after structured interviews, 15 candidates were selected. The names of the first group of student trainees are expected to be announced in December 2017.