So I am currently in a program to get my private pilot with CFI, COMM, INSTR ratings. I know there is no way around the 1500 hrs minimum. What can I do, while accumulating my hours, to better my opportunity to get hired by a major airline? Would getting a job, other than as a pilot, inside the airline company get me in the door with better opportunity? Or is there programs or scholarships I can apply for?
There are gateway programs but most (if not all) require you to train and instruct in one of their partner schools so they can monitor your progress. That said it’s best to investigate the various programs out there and see who’s offering what.
If yours doesn’t its not the end of the world. Do well in training, don’t bust any checkrides, keep yourself out of trouble (dui, traffic violation or other nonsense), be a good employee for whomever you instruct for, have good relationships with your examiners and you’ll be fine.
There is no way around the 1500 hours but most airlines like to see quality hours. Instructing is the most valuable way you can accrue those hours as you’re giving dual, will include both VFR and IFR flying, etc. Also if you instruct with a partner school, you can have access to the cadet programs that increase your chances of getting hired. Most are early interviews that also offer tuition reimbursement and mentoring.
The best thing you can do to get hired by a major airline is build your hours and get to a regional as quickly as possible. I do not see any advantage to working for a major airline in a capacity other than as a pilot. It will not do anything to help your resume and will probably slow down your building of flight hours. Stay focused on being a good pilot and you will get there soon enough.