As the economy slowly improves, the industry is again experiencing a shortage of technical personnel, and many MROs are finding that the demand for service exceeds their capacity to provide it. Chicago-based AAR has gone on the road recruiting for 200 technical positions in the Duluth, Minn. facility, and Premier Aviation of Trois-Rivieres, Canada, is also feeling the pinch.
“It’s a challenge for the aviation industry these days. Everybody’s advertising for people and the pool is getting smaller and smaller,” said Dave Diggle, Premier Aviation vice president of marketing, sales and service. “We’re not looking for [just] a handful of people. Given the opportunity to take on a significant number of people, we would hire them.”
Concerned about the lack of technical talent in aviation, from pilots to mechanics, Aviation Workforce Development (AWD) and the Professional Aircraft Maintenance Association will host the Aviation Workforce Think Tank. Both AWD and PAMA believe that the U.S. aviation and aerospace industries must act now to retain their leadership positions on the world stage. As older workers move toward retirement or into different fields, new workers search to develop their careers, and incumbent populations hope to regain employment.
“The objective of the Think Tank initiative is to bring together a small group of key aviation and aerospace industry leaders to address this looming crisis, bring real-time action items to the agenda, and create measurements with tracking and reporting to monitor and follow through with deliverables to tackle this daunting issue,” said Dr. Tara Harl, founder and director of AWD. “I would like to get people out of their comfort zone and persuade this industry to do something about the issue. One of our goals is to create a neutral competent organization.”
The Aviation Workforce Think Tank will be held on May 7 in Minneapolis. The following organizations have committed to the project: Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Aeronautical Repair Station Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, Boeing, Jeppesen, Metropolitan Airports Commission (MSP), National Air Traffic Controllers Association, NBAA, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, United Airlines and Women in Aviation International. The Think Tank will be moderated by AIN journalist David A. Lombardo.
“PAMA is happy to have partnered with AWD on this unprecedented event. We’re bringing the key alphabet organizations and companies together to discuss how to address the shortage of new employees we will be seeing worldwide over the next ten years. It is something that needs to be done and we are ecstatic about the cooperation we are seeing from the industry,” Dale Forton, PAMA’s president, told AIN.