In the News

Wichita Business Journal
Daniel McCoy

Aimed at closing the skills gap in the aerospace industry, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and a bipartisan group of senators have introduced legislation geared toward boosting workforce development in aviation maintenance. 

Moran, R-Kan., was joined in introducing the Aviation Maintenance Workforce Development Pilot Program on Wednesday by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. 

According to a statement provided by Moran’s office, the legislation would create federal grants to incentivize businesses, labor groups, schools and local governments to develop new ways of recruiting and educating workers for the industry. 

“The aviation maintenance industry contributes $44 billion to our economy, but is struggling from a severe shortage of skilled workers,” Moran says. “Our legislation would encourage collaboration between public and private entities to issue grants to support technical education and career development on a local level."

The measure has drawn broad industry support, with companies including NORDAM, American Airlines and AAR Corp. all praising the bill in the statement. 

Additionally, 17 industry organizations, including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, all signed a letter of support for the measure. 

According to recent data from the Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), North America alone is expected to need 118,000 new maintenance technicians over the next two decades. 

In addition to the airline needs, there will also be demand in general aviation at repair stations such as the factory-owned service centers of Textron Aviation and Bombardier Learjet and other independent shops throughout Wichita and across the nation. 

"Our aviation industry is only as strong as its workforce — incentivizing people across America to pursue technical careers in this field will help fill good-paying jobs,” Moran says. 

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