Amid growing demand for aviation maintenance technicians, a bipartisan group of legislators in the House of Representatives introduced a bill on May 8 aimed at recruiting new technicians, training maintenance professionals, and encouraging more people to pursue careers in aviation. H.R.5701, also known as the Aviation Maintenance Workforce Development Pilot Program Act, is sponsored by Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.).
The bill comes at a crucial time, with Boeing predictions showing a demand for nearly 120,000 new technicians in the next 20 years. According to a forecast from Oliver Wyman, the demand for maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 2022.If passed, H.R.5701 will help meet the demand for workers and create a grant program of up to $500,000 per year available to businesses, unions, schools, and government entities partnering to address the technician shortage.
In March, a similar bill was proposed in the Senate by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and was overwhelmingly supported by the aviation industry. AOPA and 19 other aviation groups expressed their support for the legislation in a May 8 letter to Congress.
“Having qualified, talented maintenance technicians is vital to maintain America’s leadership in aviation,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We commend Congress for taking steps to address the aviation skills gap and recruit the next generation of workers to ensure our industry remains vibrant.”
Beyond A&Ps, Boeing’s forecast shows a demand for more than 637,000 commercial pilots and 839,000 cabin crew in the next 20 years.
Doing its part to meet that demand and help make flying more accessible and affordable, AOPA created You Can Fly, which includes the High School Aviation Initiative to build and sustain high school aviation-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. The program also inspires young people to pursue careers in aviation and find good-paying and rewarding careers.
The You Can Fly program is entirely funded by charitable donations to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. To be a part of the solution, visit www.aopafoundation.org/donate.