Forty aviation organizations representing a cross-section of industry this week jointly urged senior U.S. administration officials to seek full funding for new grant programs aimed at the recruitment of the next generation of aerospace workers. The organizations made that appeal in a February 5 letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, underscoring the universal concerns of the aviation community surrounding workforce shortages.
The groups are seeking $10 million in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the new grant programs, which were established in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that passed in the fall. “Resources provided through these temporary initiatives will incentivize businesses, labor, and pilot organizations, schools, and governmental entities to work together to pursue innovative new strategies to develop technical talent and encourage our next generation of pilots to pursue careers in aviation,” the letter said. “This, in turn, will help ensure the continued global leadership of America’s aerospace sector.”
The organizations pointed to Boeing 2018 Pilot and Technical Outlook projections for a global need of 754,000 new maintenance technicians and 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years, inclusive of commercial aviation, business aviation, and the rotorcraft industry, and expressed concern that the industry faces a shortage that threatens its growth and competitiveness.
Pilot certificate issuance has decreased by more than 60 percent since 1980, creating a mismatch of supply and demand, the groups said. Forecasts see demand for aviation maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 2022, they added.
The grant programs are designed to incentivize collaboration to solve the shortage, as well as boost STEM education.