Representatives André Carson (D-Ind.) and Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) re-introduced bipartisan legislation on April 26 to create a center to help the aviation and aerospace industries better collaborate on initiatives to ensure the nation is ready to meet its aviation needs through a well-trained and prepared workforce.
The bill, backed by 46 cosponsors on the day it was introduced, calls for the establishment of a not-for-profit national aviation center to address vital workforce issues and facilitate cooperation, collaboration, and coordination across all sectors of aviation: civil, commercial, and military. It would be administered by a board of industry representatives and the Departments of Transportation, Defense, Education, and Veterans Affairs, and NASA.
The NCAA would focus on coordinating efforts in key areas, including aviation and aerospace STEM curriculum for middle school and high school students; scholarships, apprenticeships, internships, training, and mentorship programs to help individuals pursue relevant careers; support for military veterans transitioning to a civil aviation or aerospace career; and a critical forum for collaboration and cooperation among governmental, aviation and aerospace stakeholders.
The House overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan, bicameral NCAA bill last year by a 369-56 vote but it did not advance in the Senate.
“The National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act passed overwhelmingly out of Congress last year with broad Bipartisan support. Now, we’re lifting off again,” Rep. Carson stated. “This bill will advance American aviation and expand the workforce to meet the needs of the next generation. The aviation industry drives our economy, including in my home state of Indiana, and this bill will ensure it continues to do so for generations to come.”
“It’s crucial that we strengthen and promote interest in aviation industry professions. I’m proud to join Rep. Carson in introducing the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act,” said Rep. Stauber. “This center will facilitate training and professional development of our aviation workforce, improve collaboration across the industry, and boost innovation in American flight. It is my hope we can get this legislation across the finish line to honor the late Congressman Don Young who was such a steadfast champion of this bill.”
“We applaud Rep. Carson and Rep. Stauber for re-introducing this legislation that is such a needed investment in addressing our aviation workforce shortage and keeping our nation’s aviation and aerospace industries competitive and vibrant,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “STEM aviation education is a cornerstone of the NCAA bill and will help introduce aviation to students, many of whom might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn what aviation offers.”
Baker added that “Despite a number of positive initiatives and proposals to address aviation workforce challenges, there remains a lack of coordination between industry and government to create efficiencies and effectiveness in these programs. This National Center for the Advancement of Aviation is the solution and is supported by the entire aviation industry. More importantly, it will help free up FAA personnel to focus on the Agency’s core mission of providing a safe and efficient aviation system.”
Nearly 200 organizations across all aviation and aerospace sectors support the creation of the NCAA.
Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook 2022-2041 projected a global need for more than 602,000 new pilots and 610,000 aviation technicians over the next 20 years. While the projections were down somewhat compared to past reports, Boeing also excluded data from Russia and Central Asia in its latest forecast, and noted that 25 percent of airline pilots will reach mandatory retirement age in the next 10 years.
AOPA will work with Reps. Carson and Stauber to include the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act in the upcoming FAA reauthorization bill.