A coalition of aviation trade associations has taken the first step toward solving the aviation maintenance workforce crisis by helping the government to define it. The group, spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council (Atec), asked the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Policy Committee and the Office of Management and Budget to revise the SOC system for a more accurate reflection of the aviation maintenance industry. The SOC system provides the framework for all occupational statistics collected and disseminated by federal agencies.
Within the current system, nearly all aviation maintenance professionals are classified into a single occupation category: aircraft mechanics and technicians. The group requested that this lone category be replaced with three separate occupations: certified mechanics, certified repairmen and non-certified technicians.
Laura Vlieg, Atec’s regulatory affairs manager, told AIN, “The health of the aviation maintenance industry is directly reflected by the strength of its workforce. You wouldn’t trust the diagnosis of a doctor who couldn’t read medical charts, and we can’t build a robust workforce without dependable data. We urge the SOC Policy Committee to accept our proposed classifications to help heal the aviation maintenance community.”
A broad alliance, including the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, the Aerospace Maintenance Council, Airlines for America, the Cargo Airline Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Carrier Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the Regional Airline Association and a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, joined Atec in submitting comments to the SOC revision process, the results of which are set for implementation in 2018.