Dean of Academic Affairs, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
The aviation industry needs to fill 118,000 technician jobs over the next 20 years. How can the aviation industry meet the need to maintain industry success?
The general public is not aware of the many opportunities for careers in aviation, especially for maintenance technicians. Individuals looking for a career change and recently discharged military members are the primary source of technicians, and the largest untapped future source will be high school students who have yet to enter the workforce.
There is a nation-wide shortage of skilled trade workers across all industries. How can programs and trade schools find their voice to attract talent to the aviation industry?
It’s been reported by the FAA that the average age of an aviation maintenance technician is around 53, and about 25 percent of these technicians are 64 years of age or older. Many of the highly experienced technicians are going to retire in the next few years, placing a severe strain on all segments of aviation. Having the opportunity to work with professionals who have years of knowledge on aircraft, ranging from small single engine aircraft to the wide-body commercial airliners, can be an exciting incentive. Awareness campaigns on military facilities and high school pathway programs that focus on the wide variety of technical and management opportunities, along with the great benefits and pay potential, can go a long way in filling these critical positions.
What kind of work are students training for when pursuing maintenance careers in aviation? Why are these technical careers so crucial to the growth, safety and quality of the industry?
New aircrafts of all sizes and capabilities are entering the fleets every day, resulting in jobs that focus on maintaining these advanced systems and electronics. The focus on safety and quality will grow as technology and innovation continue to drive the aviation industry.
How much more likely are students who participate in a career pathway program to be employed by the industry within a year of graduation in comparison to those who don’t?
Students who participate in a career pathway program while attending an FAA Part 147 aviation maintenance training program will definitely have an employment advantage over other students. These students will gain a head start from the first-hand experiences they have in school.
What can schools do to advocate for the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce in aviation?
Every segment of the industry is looking for a more diverse workforce, and nearly all employers are looking for more women in aviation. Women have made amazing contributions to aviation, and they continue to have a positive impact and great career opportunities. Awareness campaigns, especially at high schools, can go a long way to attract a diverse workforce into the aviation maintenance field.
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