Alaska Airlines and Portland Trail Blazers join forces to empower youth through aviation & education 

Photo courtesy of the Trail Blazers

What happens when we combine our commitment to providing education opportunities for BIPOC youth with our love of the Portland Trail Blazers? A powerful weekend celebrating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), that is!

This year, we teamed up with the Trail Blazers to host the annual HBCU to the Pros game on Feb. 25 – and we helped make it bigger and more meaningful than ever before. As the official airline of the Trail Blazers, we’re grateful for partners who share our values of education and equity.  

Before we got to the excitement of the game, we participated in Junction Ave – a Black business event hosted by Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI). Some of our Portland-based pilots and recruiters met with youth and encouraged them to consider careers in aviation and gave the kids a spin in a flight simulator. Additionally, high schoolers heard from HBCU representatives and HBCU alumni to begin to formulate their future college plans.  

One of the biggest moments of the weekend came when the famous Prairie View A&M Marching Storm Band performed at halftime to bring a little HBCU energy to the Rose City. We were proud to fly the 40-person band from Texas to Portland on Alaska’s Our Commitment Plane.  

Alaska Airlines has a long history of connecting Black youth in the Pacific Northwest to educational opportunities at HBCUs and beyond,” said James Thomas, Alaska Airlines’ Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We’re proud to fly in the Prairie View A&M band so Portland can experience the unique energy of HBCUs, and the kids in our community can connect with college students who will inspire their educational goals.” 

Our Commitment 

Nearly 3 years ago, we launched the Our Commitment aircraft in partnership with UNCF to promote education and equity. In the years since, we have flown hundreds of students on the special aircraft to tour colleges and for other educational trips. Last year, in partnership with UNCF, we sent more than 40 high school juniors to tour HBCUs in Atlanta. This spring, we’re doing it again, with UNCF, in addition to SEI.  

Alaska ❤️ Portland 

We just can’t get enough of Portland! This month, we announced an increase of 20 daily departures from PDX – connecting the city more frequently with popular destinations like Las Vegas, Sacramento and Phoenix. We also just announced a new flight between Portland and Atlanta, bringing our nonstop destinations from PDX to 54.