AAR has released a new report, EAGLE Pathways: Bridging the Middle-Skills Gap to Careers in Aviation, exploring ways to boost the number of aircraft maintenance technicians and repair personnel entering the industry.
The report cites research that estimates demand for 189,000 new AMTs in North America through 2037. The number of AMTs nearing retirement is 30% while new hires represent just 2%.
AAR says the way forward is through public-private partnerships, targeted recruitment and career pathways that are designed using stackable credentials toward advancement. The report calls for recruiting to focus on the estimated 6.5 million discouraged or underemployed US workers, military veterans and underrepresented groups including women, African Americans and Latinos. Another target is students who favor a less expensive two-year degree or industry skills certifications as a pathway to a good job.
AAR has been working across the USA to build partnerships with cities, states and schools to grow the pipeline. For example, since October 2018, AAR has introduced the EAGLE Career Pathway program at colleges in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, and Duluth, Minnesota.
On January 31, 2019, AAR and Indiana’s Vincennes University announced an expansion of its training partnership under the program. Students will be able to earn stackable credentials that lead to several careers at AAR. They’ll experience job shadowing and mentoring and get academic support. Those who pursue their FAA aircraft mechanics certificate are eligible for up to US$15,000 in tuition reimbursements from AAR.
“One of our top priorities is to increase training and job prospects not just for AAR but across the aviation industry,” said John Holmes, president and CEO at AAR. “We believe more people will choose aviation if they are aware of the training opportunities and the favorable job prospects in this exciting industry.”
The report also cites the industry’s success at lobbying for updates to FAA training protocols and bipartisan support, led by Senator Jim Inhofe, for provisions aimed at growing the aviation workforce included in the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed by Congress in October 2018.
“The aviation maintenance industry offers high-paying jobs all across the nation to workers with the right skills,” said Inhofe. “The programs I authored in the FAA Reauthorization last year will help develop innovative ways to recruit and educate the next generation of America’s aviation workforce. I appreciate efforts by all stakeholders to invest in their workforce and look forward to AAR expanding these efforts to other cities where they maintain a strong presence.”