Mar 16 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today welcomed Dr. Sheree Utash, President of Wichita State University (WSU) Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech) and Vice President of Workforce Development at WSU, to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Sen. Moran served as the ranking member of the full committee with Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). The hearing was titled, “Strengthening the Aviation Workforce.”
“I’m honored to lead the hearing today and gain insight into how Congress can continue to support the growing demands in workforce, particularly in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization legislation,” said Sen. Moran. “Our nation and state’s success within this vital sector depends on those who train, educate, and prepare our students to be ready contributors within the aviation industry. In order for our nation to continue leading in aviation, it will take innovative programs like those Dr. Utash has helped implement.”
Dr. Utash serves as the president of WSU Tech, which is the largest technical college in Kansas. She also served as a member of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board under the previous Secretary of Commerce.
For more details and video of the full hearing, click here.
Click HERE to Watch Sen. Moran’s Opening Remarks
Sen. Moran’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:
“One of the growing challenges facing the global aviation industry today centers on workforce. Whether aircraft mechanics, manufacturers, or pilots, the demand for trained and qualified workers has only increased.
“During the 2018 FAA Reauthorization, Congress worked to address this issue by creating the Aviation Workforce Development Grant program aimed at strengthening the pool of pilots and aviation maintenance technical workers.
“A total of $10 million in grants was awarded to more than 20 recipients, but the demand sought by all applicants totaled over $120 million.
“Industry, academia and Congress all recognize that in order to remain a global leader in aviation, we must have a strong workforce.
“I’m honored to lead the hearing today and gain insight into how Congress can continue to support the growing demands in workforce, particularly in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization legislation.
“I would like to give a particular welcome to one of our witnesses here today, Dr. Sheree Utash, President of Wichita State University’s Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology or WSU Tech.
“Dr. Utash has served in her position as president for almost a decade, overseeing the college’s transition from Wichita Area Technical College to WSU Tech, the largest technical college in Kansas.
“WSU Tech’s commitment specializes in the delivery of career technical education while driving economic development within the region and meeting the current and future workforce needs of the industry.
“Dr. Utash oversees an innovative partnership and solution to building a talent pipeline, titled Get to WERX.
“This program offers students full-time, paid employment within the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul sector while simultaneously progressing through WSU Tech’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
“Dr. Utash offers a unique perspective with experience in teaching and working in both higher education and private industry, as she has helped to combat workforce challenges in both arenas.
“Aviation is one of America’s top industries, and in Kansas, aerospace and aviation make up nearly 20% of our state’s exports. Wichita is also the number one aerospace manufacturing metro in the nation.
“Our nation and state’s success within this vital sector depends on those who train, educate, and prepare our students to be ready contributors within the aviation industry.
“In order for our nation to continue leading in aviation, it will take innovative programs like those Dr. Utash has helped implement.“I look forward to hearing from her today, and our entire panel, as we work to craft FAA reauthorization legislation.”
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