Bipartisan group introduces legislation to promote aviation careers

Submitted by the Aircraft Electronics Association

LEE’S SUMMIT, MISSOURI, May 9, 2018 — On Tuesday, May 8, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers, led by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), introduced H.R. 5701 to establish an aviation maintenance workforce development pilot program. In addition to Graves, Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence, (D-Mich.) introduced the legislation that is designed to encourage more men and women to pursue careers in aviation.

According to Graves, “H.R. 5701 would incentivise businesses, labor organizations, schools, and governmental entities to work together to pursue strategies to develop technical talent and encourage workers to pursue aviation careers. Studies show that in just four years, we will not have enough aviation maintenance technicians to meet the demand for those services and skills in the aviation industry.”

The bill was quickly lauded by industry, as a coalition of 20 general aviation groups, including the Aircraft Electronics Association, sent a letter of support for the bill to House congressional leaders. Click here to read the letter.

The joint industry letter to House leaders, in part, stated: “An analysis by Boeing suggests that 118,000 new technicians will be needed in North America over the next two decades. The consulting firm Oliver Wyman has forecast that demand for aviation maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 2022.”

The House bill would create a new program administered by the Federal Aviation Administration to provide grants of up to $500,000 to support aviation maintenance workforce development activities. The legislation incentivizes local collaboration by requiring that grant applications be jointly submitted by a business or labor organization, school and governmental entity. The House bill is similar to a Senate bill (S. 2506), but the House version includes high schools as educational institutions eligible to participate in a grant application.

“As the trade association representing government-certified repair stations and avionics manufacturers, the Aircraft Electronics Association strongly endorses this legislation to provide a viable pathway for training our next generation of avionics technicians and aviation maintenance technicians,” said AEA President Paula Derks. “There is a severe shortage of skilled technicians in the aviation industry, and forecasts indicate the problem will continue to worsen in the next few years. This legislation will help ensure that the United States remains the world leader in all facets of aviation, and will instigate the creation of thousands of high-paying jobs employing skilled workers in the future. I encourage AEA members to contact representatives in Congress to lend additional support for this bipartisan bill.”

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Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including government-certified international repair stations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of avionics and electronic systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of avionics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.