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Aviation Coalition Pushes for Better Workforce Data

On Sept. 20, an aviation coalition continued its push to address the aviation maintenance workforce crisis by helping the government to define it. ARSA joined the group, led by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), in filing comments asking the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee to revise its aviation maintenance personnel definitions.

The SOC system is the source of all federal occupational statistics. It determines precisely which occupations exist and is used as the basic structure for workforce analysis by government agencies. The aviation maintenance industry has been stuck in a void – trapped under incorrect classifications – for years. Within the current system, nearly all aviation maintenance professionals are classified into a single occupation titled “Aircraft Mechanics and Technicians,” with a separate category for “Avionics Technicians”.

The coalition argued that classifying workers using FAA certification is the most logical and useful method; since aviation safety rules use the same definitions to dictate precisely who is allowed to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance and alteration tasks. The comments asked that the existing two categories be replaced with three occupations: certificated mechanics, certificated repairmen and non-certificated technicians.

A change in the classification structure would mean more precise information to help recruit potential mechanics and more accurately reflect the dynamic nature of maintenance careers. In addition to improving government analyses, better classifying technicians and mechanics will impact the Department of Labor’s “industry outlook”; a factor in career counselor recommendations and future workforce development efforts.

In addition to ARSA and ATEC, the alliance included the Aerospace Maintenance Council, Airlines for America, the Cargo Airline Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Regional Airline Association.

To read the comments, click here.

Previously from ARSA

6/15/15 - Aviation Coalition Shows Government How to Count

June 15, 2015

On June 4, a coalition of aviation trade associations took the first step towards solving the aviation maintenance workforce crisis by helping the government to define it. The group, spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), asked the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Policy Committee and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to revise the SOC system to more accurately reflect the aviation maintenance industry.

A broad alliance, including ARSA, the Aerospace Maintenance Council, Airlines for America, the Cargo Airline Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Carrier Association, the National Air Transport Association,  the Regional Airline Association and a Former Member of the National Transportation Safety Board, joined ATEC in submitting comments to the SOC revision process, the results of which are set for implementation in 2018.

The SOC system provides the framework for all occupational statistics collected and disseminated by federal agencies. For federal statistical purposes, it determines precisely which occupations exist and has a significant impact on the legislators, educators, employers and job seekers who utilize that data. The aviation maintenance industry has been stuck in a void – trapped under incorrect classifications – for years. Within the current system, nearly all aviation maintenance professionals are classified into a single occupation titled “Aircraft Mechanics and Technicians.”

The group requested that this lone category be replaced with three separate occupations: certificated mechanics, certificated repairmen and non-certificated technicians. Classifying workers using FAA certification is the most logical and useful method; since aviation safety rules use the same definitions to dictate precisely who is allowed to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance and alteration tasks.

Along with a requested clarification of the “Transportation Inspectors” category, the submission proposed elimination of “Avionics Technicians” as a distinct category. These professionals should be tracked based upon certification, ATEC and its allies contend, just like every other aviation maintenance worker.

“Data empowers organizations to make sound decisions,” says Ryan Goertzen, ATEC President, “With Today’s SOC structure we can’t build a world class work force because the data is unreliable and inaccurate to capture our industry needs.”



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