Testifying before the House space and aeronautics subcommittee last month, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO John Douglass said NASA must take specific and immediate action to meet a coming workforce crisis head on, and the aerospace industry can help.
Douglass said the agency must focus on attracting the next generation of NASA workers through direct outreach and cooperation with the industry. Maintaining a dynamic workforce in both NASA and the companies that support the agency will have far-reaching effects, he said.
“NASA must remain aware that a healthy aerospace workforce holds the key to America’s national security and economic competitiveness,” Douglass said. Both the agency and the industry are facing workforce challenges since existing employees are aging, with many nearing retirement. The number of young people in high school and college choosing aerospace career tracks is insufficient to fill the vacancies.
AIA is supporting a bill (H.R. 758) introduced by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) that would establish a federal task force on revitalizing the aerospace workforce as a way to boost NASA and the industry.