Proposed Bill Targets Technician Shortage

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Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to create a program to bring more people into the aviation maintenance workforce. If it passes a House vote, the Aviation Workforce Development Pilot Program Bill, H.R. 5701, would provide grants of up to $500,000 for activities that support aviation maintenance workforce development.

Twenty aviation organizations including AOPA, GAMA and NATA have voiced their support for the bill in a letter to House leaders. As for why the bill is needed, the groups point to a Boeing analysis that “suggests that 118,000 new technicians will be needed in North America over the next two decades” and a forecast from consulting firm Oliver Wyman that says “demand for aviation maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 2022.”

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Representatives Sam Graves, R, Mo., Daniel Lipinski, D, Ill., Markwayne Mullin, R, Ok., and Brenda Lawrence, D, Mich. “All of aviation from general aviation to large commercial operations will be affected if more people do not enter this vital field,” said Graves. “This legislation provides a viable path forward to address the skills gap and ensure the United States remains a world leader in the aviation industry.” Last March, Senator James Inhofe, R, Ok., introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

Comments (4)

"This legislation provides a viable path forward to address the skills gap and ensure the United States remains a world leader in the aviation industry."

No, it throws money down the drain at a PERCEIVED problem that was suggested by one consulting firm. If there is good money in the job, people will NATURALLY be drawn to it. If there is no money to be made in the actual job then it's a loose-loose for everyone.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 10, 2018 6:38 AM    Report this comment

The major airframers - Boeing first among them - have long adhered to a 'hire-and-fire' business plan that relied on a reservoir of unemployed (or underemployed) technicians and assembly workers to hold the line on compensation. I cannot criticize the practice because it has generated healthy returns for their shareholders.

Now, as their existing workforce moves toward retirement, they will need to adjust that plan to ensure they have the skilled people on hand to meet their business needs going forward. That might mean increasing wages, expanding benefits and improving job security. And, yes, these costs will eventually find their way into the price of an airline ticket.

Given the choice, I would rather pay more to travel by air - and maybe travel a little less - than to see the government attempt to manipulate the labor force in order to maintain the status quo.

Posted by: kim hunter | May 10, 2018 4:18 PM    Report this comment

Spending taxpayers money for a job training program that has historically been supported through apprenticeship programs is a waste of money. I'm surprised that a conservative would underwrite this kind of grant for a job training program that should follow the route of free market enterprise.

Let Boeing and the airlines or any other aviation maintenance related business revive the apprenticeship programs and train them to their standards.

I started my career as an apprentice mechanic at a major airline and retired from that carrier as 767 captain. No taxpayers money involved.

Posted by: Hans Miesler | May 11, 2018 6:04 PM    Report this comment

A URL so I can try to get some of that money would be greatly appreciated. However, I am sure some consulting firms and other "in" types already have that money sawn up. It's amazing how the fools in congress always ready to give our money away to dubious causes as long as they get face time on TV as doing good. They be better off giving grants to small part 135 aviation entities to buy newer equipment and upgrade facilities to serve the wider public than some make believe shortage. I know of 3 A&P's who dropped out of aviation because "they are making more" working the same type of job in none aviation.

Posted by: Max Mason | May 18, 2018 7:36 PM    Report this comment

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