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House Committee Members, Industry Organizations Unanimous in Support of Technical Education Bill

On July 7, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587). The bill, introduced on June 28 by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Katherine Clark (D-Ma.), reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the central federal investment mechanism for training in high-skill, in-demand jobs.

On the same day the committee voted, ARSA joined more than 250 other organizations in a letter to the panel’s Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), urging action on the bill. The industry-wide coalition of signatories highlighted the broad appeal of career and technical education (CTE) improvements. Not only are all industries suffering from the inability to recruit and retain technically-skilled workers, the impacts of the skills gap on any individual sector inevitably ripple up and down customer supply chains.

The association has long argued that responsive federal workforce policy should provide states and communities with the tools necessary to stimulate the growth of skills that put students into jobs. The reauthorization bill provides a structure closely aligned with the goals expressed in ARSA’s legislative priorities: utilizing Perkins as a tool to further empower states to nurture the abilities in demand by employers. The legislation would do that by:

  • Aligning CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state and local labor markets.
  • Supporting effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers.
  • Increasing student participation in work-based learning opportunities.
  • Promoting the use of industry recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials.

The bill now awaits consideration by the full House. Stay tuned to ARSA as the process moves forward and click here to tell your members of Congress to help build the technical workforce of the future.

For more information about the bill and the committee’s work, click here.

Previously from ARSA

6/29/16 - House Committee Opens Effort to Overhaul Technical Education

June 29, 2016

On June 28, leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unveiled the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” Introduced by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Katherine Clark (D-Ma.), the legislation would reauthorize and reform the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which is the central federal investment mechanism for high-skill training.

Since 1984, the Perkins Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. Its grants have offered students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields, such as manufacturing, maintenance, health care and technology. Unaltered since 2006, the law no longer reflects the realities and challenges facing students and workers.

Through the bill, committee members seek to build on recent K-12 education reforms in order to:

  • Deliver states more flexibility to use federal resources in response to changing needs.
  • Ensure CTE prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, for success in high-skill, high-wage occupations and careers in nontraditional fields.
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Enhance career and technical education through increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing so students are prepared to enter the workforce poised for success.
  • Streamline performance measures to ensure career and technical education programs deliver results for students and taxpayers.
  • Reduce administrative burdens and simplify the process for states to apply for federal resources.
  • Reward success and innovation by directing federal resources to replicate promising practices that best serve students and employers.
  • Provide parents, students, and stakeholders a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs.
  • Empower state and local leaders to develop plans that improve the quality of career and technical education and take into account unique ‎local and state needs.

On Jan. 8, ARSA joined more than 350 other organizations in a letter urging Congress to reauthorize Perkins. With businesses in all industrial sectors struggling to find technically-capable workers, responsive federal workforce policy should provide states and communities with the tools necessary to stimulate the growth of skills that put students into jobs. Congress must prioritize technical education and utilize Perkins as a tool to further empower states to support needed skills. Stay tuned as the bill – and the long-expected version from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee – move forward through the legislative process.

Take a moment to tell Congress that the aviation maintenance industry needs help. Click here to send a message to your elected officials, remind them that they can’t fly without us and we can’t fly without skilled workers.

Use the following links to learn more about the Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act:

Fact Sheet Bill Summary Full Text

1/11/16 - ARSA Gets Technical, Urges Congressional Action on Perkins

January 11, 2016

On Jan. 8, ARSA joined more than 350 other organizations in a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the Carl. D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Perkins supports career and technical education (CTE) programs through grants to states. It is long-overdue for overhaul and has come under fire in recent years for being out of touch with the needs of the modern workforce.

The broad show of industry support for action on Perkins represents the growing recognition that technical, hands-on training provides students with more opportunity and employers with essential human capital. The law has long been the federal government’s central tool in supporting efforts by schools and businesses to grow essential skills; the association and its allies asked lawmakers to enhance areas that can boost the modern economy.

The group contends the government can most effectively utilize federal spending on technical programs when curricula consider workforce demand. To ensure such consideration exists, the letter asked that reauthorization legislation align CTE programs with the needs of labor markets and support collaboration between educators and employers.

“CTE is an effective tool for improving student outcomes and helps prepare both secondary and postsecondary students with the necessary academic, technical and employability skills required for successful entry into the workforce,” the letter said. “Indeed, CTE prepares students both for college and careers.”

The association will continue to support this broad coalition of businesses and industry groups to build the right educational infrastructure. After graduating from programs rooted in strong CTE skills, students will have options. By taking advantage of federal policy and working locally to meet labor demand, so will aviation businesses.

Do your part: Visit ARSAaction.org and tell your elected officials to help build the technical workforce of the future.

12/14/15 - Every Student Succeeds with Technical Skills

December 14, 2015

On Dec. 10, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177) after it passed both houses of Congress by overwhelming, bipartisan majorities. The legislation replaces No Child Left Behind, which became law in 2002 and was much maligned for over-reliance on standardized testing to assess and incentivize school and student performance.

By 2020, S. 1177 will increase total appropriations for early and secondary education programs by nearly 12 percent, with money identified for teacher development, school improvement and programs to target disadvantaged and underperforming students. Although the law maintains the testing structure so unpalatable under No Child Left Behind, it shifts authority for mitigating sub-par results on those tests to state education authorities.

The new law places high value on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. By including technology and engineering into assessment regimes, allowing states to fund professional development and pay differentials for teachers of STEM-related subjects and creating standards for the use of federal funds in support of science and math, S. 1177 broadly empowers schools to provide useful skills for elementary and secondary students.

For the aviation maintenance industry, this is an important development. As reported in a 2013 Brookings Institution study, half of all STEM jobs are industrial and available to workers without a four-year college degree. The Every Student Succeeds Act encourages schools to provide all students with a solid foundation in these disciplines. The market for future technical workers – including aviation maintenance professionals – will be strengthened by core training in hands-on, applied skills.

For a complete assessment of S. 1177’s commitment to STEM programs, review the STEM Education Coalition’s analysis of the law.

Now that Congress and the president have upgraded the nation’s early and secondary education system, attention will turn to the Higher Education and Carl D. Perkins Acts. Review ARSA’s assessment (“Congress’ Homework,” below) of the work ahead to reauthorize those laws as the association supports efforts to enhance the system’s focus on technical skills.

8/20/15 - Congress’ Homework: Reauthorize Education Trio

August 20, 2015

Congressional inaction and its occasional distraction have delayed the reauthorization of three key pieces of education legislation: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Carl D. Perkins Perkins Act. In order to build and maintain a strong workforce, industry must be supported by education policy that ensures high school, college, technical school and community college graduates have employable skills.

Get to know the bills:

ESEA
Commonly referred to as No Child Left Behind, ESEA accounts for $60 billion in federal education funding and is the primary law governing K-12 education in the United States. It does this largely by setting federal standards for testing and accountability for failing schools. While both the House and the Senate have passed reauthorizations of ESEA, they unfortunately haven’t settled on a single bill. The House’s bill also contains a provision on portability – the ability of funding to “follow” students to the school of their choice – which would likely draw opposition from Democrats and a veto from the White House.

HEA
The Higher Education Act supports college affordability and seeks to make schools more accountable to graduation rates and job prospects which is good for students as well as employers, but since 2008 there have only been extensions with no new long-term reauthorizations – a theme of all three pieces of education legislation. Unfortunately, policy limitations prevent many technical training programs from dipping in to the large pot of grands and other funding assistance designed to help student pay for education.

Perkins
The Perkins Act is designed to support career and technical education (CTE) programs through grants to states. It has come under fire in recent years as being out of touch with the needs of the modern workforce, especially with regards to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Looking Ahead
While there has been significant action on ESEA, the conference period required for the House and Senate to agree on a single bill could be lengthy. Less progress has been made on the other bills. Both the House and Senate are currently holding hearings on HEA reauthorization but as of yet neither chamber has agreed to any legislation. Serious discussion of the Perkins Act will likely fall in line behind the other two bills.

[For reference, download the STEM Education Coalition’s reference guide on these three bills.]

Here’s what you can do to take action on technical workforce issues:

7/21/15 - Boeing Report Foresees Unprecedented Demand for New Technicians

July 21, 2015

On July 20, Boeing released its 2015 Pilot and Technician Outlook. The report forecasts the global commercial aviation industry will need more than one million new workers – 558,000 pilots and 609,000 maintenance technicians – to meet unprecedented demand between now and 2034.

“As global economies expand and airlines take delivery of tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners over the next 20 years,” Boeing’s report said, “there will be unprecedented demand for people to pilot and maintain these airplanes.”

The long-term demand for maintenance skills equates to roughly 30,000 new technicians per year, with need in every corner of the world. As already seen in ARSA’s 2015 Global Fleet and MRO Market Assessment, strong growth in Asia will lead global demand for the foreseeable future; more than one-third of all new technicians over the next two decades will fill positions in the region.

In North America, more than 100,000 new maintainers will be needed over the forecast period – 5,500 new positions each year and 19 percent of total growth. This addition to the existing workforce does not capture recruitment necessary to replace aging workers, whose retirements have been long-expected to deplete the industry’s existing personnel base.

The overall lesson is clear and has now become oft-repeated: As the global civil aviation market continues to grow, keeping the flying public safely aloft will require the dedicated effort of well-trained men and women supported by a healthy and cooperative international industry.

Get Involved
In the United States
– visit ARSAaction.org and tell American lawmakers to support training programs and regulatory structures that foster technical skills.

Around the world – learn about ICAO’s Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Task Force (ARSA is a member) and the resource it provides the global industry.

5/19/15 - ARSA Joins STEM Leadership Council

May 19, 2015

On May 14, the STEM Education Coalition welcomed ARSA as a new member of its Leadership Council.  Alongside the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), ARSA’s new position will give the aviation maintenance industry a voice in the science, technology, engineering and math universe.

Though many think of STEM in relation to advanced academic degrees, the majority of STEM-related work is performed by hands-on technicians and specialists. In 2013, the Brookings Institution determined that half of all American STEM jobs are available to workers without a four-year college degree. The STEM Education Coalition works aggressively to raise awareness about the importance of preparing students for this kind of highly-technical work.

STEM has long been associated with rocket scientists, the coalition’s Executive Director James Brown explained at ARSA’s 2015 Annual Repair Symposium, but the future of the technical workforce depends on the people who build and maintain the rockets.

Get Involved
In addition to the small Leadership Council, the STEM Coalition supports an expansive collection of affiliate members – over 600 organizations. By signing up you will connect your staff with key updates as well as the opportunity to add your voice to letters, petitions and initiatives on behalf of the technical workforce.

Click here to get started.

5/5/15 - ARSA, ATEC Join Forces for Armed Forces

May 5, 2015

ARSA and the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) have joined together to support Hire Our Aviation Heroes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans transition into civilian aviation careers.

On June 24, that relationship will bear its first fruit when Aviation Heroes hosts an online job fair. The event will help employers build a pipeline of high-quality, well-trained aviation talent right into their workspaces. For veterans, it will be an invaluable first step towards building a new career on the foundation of their military training and years of hands-on experience.

“An online job fair is a perfect way for aviation employers and recruiters in the industry to create a live connection to transitioning aviation veterans,” Aviation Heroes Executive Director Bret Morriss said. “On the day of the event, employers chat in real-time with jobseekers in one-on-one conversations while getting a snapshot of their resume and background. It’s highly interactive and provides employers with much more insight into the candidate.”

In addition to learning about career opportunities, job seekers can build their professional network and meet front-line recruiters who are making hiring decisions in the weeks and months to come all within the comforts of their home or office.

“Hire Our Aviation Heroes is doing great things to help transition our veterans and provide a vital resource for the aviation community,” said Crystal Maguire, managing associate for Obadal, Filler, MacLeod and Klein, the firm that manages both ARSA and ATEC. “From the cockpit to the control tower to the maintenance line, businesses are hungry for workers with the right skills and training to serve the global flying public. On June 24, Hire Our Aviation Heroes is hosting a great event to help feed that need.”

Click to visit the Aviation Heroes website.

Click to visit the Aviation Heroes website.

2/26/15 - New Report: Aviation Workforce Flying into Headwinds

February 26, 2015

ARSA and the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) have released a new report examining the technical worker shortage facing the aviation industry. The study, Policy Solutions for a Stronger Technical Workforce, was authored by researchers at the College of William and Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy and sheds new light on the challenges of finding, retaining and growing a world-class aviation maintenance workforce.

In the face of expanding global markets and increased demand for a highly skilled, government-certificated labor force, business must overcome the looming retirements of more experienced employees, skill gaps, regulatory limitations on training programs and – most importantly – data sources that are inadequately designed for defining the problem.

In seeking to analyze personnel, certification and education data at the regional level, the researchers encountered a familiar hurdle: frustratingly insufficient data that is often inaccurate and inconsistently captured.

Despite these limitations, as well as the unreliable reporting of national statistics, the analysis made clear that different regions of the United States face varied realities in terms of technical workforce development. As a result, the authors recommend companies and interest groups build strategic partnerships on local and regional levels between employers, educational institutions and community and government organizations.

“This report is all about defining a problem: the desperate need for more qualified, well-trained men and women to funnel into aviation careers,” said Ryan Goertzen, ATEC’s president and president of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. “To achieve that we must figure out how to really capture what’s going on in the workforce. Incorrect data does not help anyone and masks the real problem facing our industry today: finding skilled workers.”

The regional approach taken by the researchers provides a blueprint for the aviation community to grapple with workforce challenges. “The research team took advantage of some great examples from across the industry to give us this basic roadmap for success: think globally, act locally,” said Christian A Klein, ARSA’s executive vice president. “I know that’s an old, familiar phrase, but it’s especially useful here. The only way for businesses, government and teaching institutions to solve big, daunting national workforce problems is to look in their surrounding communities and get active in a planned, strategic way.”

“We have a passion for aviation, of course, but first and foremost we have a responsibility to our students,” Goertzen continued, speaking of the aviation maintenance training schools represented by ATEC. “We know we’re giving them valuable skills and preparing them for success in a number of technical fields, but for us true success is getting our graduates employed in the aerospace industry. This report is a part of that work.”

1/13/15 - President Unveils Free Community College Plan

January 13, 2015

On Jan. 9, the White House unveiled a proposal to make two years of community college free for many students. At the same time, President Obama announced a new American Technical Training Fund to prepare Americans for better-paying jobs by connecting skills development to the needs of employers.

Building on a model that has been used by Tennessee and Chicago, the president’s America’s College Promise proposal would allow students to attend community college with two-years of tuition paid for by federal and state governments.

Given the federal budget situation and the ongoing debate about the proper role of the federal government, there are considerable questions about whether making community college a new entitlement is the right course of action.  But ARSA commends the administration for highlighting the country’s skilled, technical worker shortage and looks forward to working with Congress and the president on this important issue.  Simply put, the aviation maintenance industry depends on trained technicians and there are important opportunities for the federal government to help get more workers into the pipeline.

Stay tuned for more updates as the association continues  its advocacy on workforce policy issues in the months ahead. For more information on the president’s proposal, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/09/fact-sheet-white-house-unveils-america-s-college-promise-proposal-tuitio

12/9/14 - Aviation Workforce: Bridging the NGAP

December 9. 2014

The major ICAO initiative dedicated to the international aviation workforce crisis finally has a voice for the maintenance community. The Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) task force convened in Montreal for its annual meeting on Dec. 1, and ARSA took its seat at the table.

The group’s mission is to ensure that enough qualified and competent aviation professionals are available to operate, manage and maintain the future global air transport system. Director of Operations Brett Levanto joined an international corps of private industry, government and academic representatives to pursue that end.

The task force operates through three standing working groups focusing on research, outreach and programs implementation. These interrelated efforts combine to provide the most comprehensive suite of aviation workforce resources for both employers and aspiring airmen. After participating with both the research and outreach groups, Levanto presented some of ARSA’s tools dedicated to workforce development. He introduced the repair station industry’s web-based information portal AVMRO.arsa.org and offered a sneak peak of the forthcoming AVMRO documentary produced by the association.

Maintenance was also represented by Dr. Raymond Thompson, associated dean of Western Michigan University and representative of the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC). In close partnership, ARSA and ATEC are committed to providing maintenance providers the right people to support the future of international aviation.

Read More:
Too Cool for Flight School? (AviationPros, Dec. 4, 2014)
NGAP Website
NGAP Symposium Website

 

8/15/14 - Filling Jobs is a Big Job

August 15, 2014

Maintaining a world-class workforce is an everyday challenge for ARSA’s members. Repair stations invest heavily in finding the right people, with the right skills and certifications and keeping them current on regulatory and technical issues.

Unfortunately, the numbers say that even more trials lay ahead. As highlighted in a recent article by Dr. Tara Harl in Aircraft Maintenance Technology Magazine, the Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that the aviation industry will have more than 1 million job openings in the next 10 years worldwide. Looming retirements, changing demographics and the lure of other industries will make recruiting and training more difficult – and more important – than ever. “Fundamentally, this means, there will not be enough well-qualified, trained and certified personnel to meet the needs of current and retiring personnel replacements,” Harl said.

There are people who want to work; the challenge is turning them from just “people” into a “qualified, technically trained and government certificated work force.” This takes time, effort and resources from both businesses and job seekers. In the educational world, there are groups dedicated to growing the aviation maintenance workforce and venues to put it on display. The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) is a partnership of more than 150 FAA-certificated training schools across the country. The council’s mission is to help its members get skilled workers out of the classroom and onto the maintenance line. The Aerospace Maintenance Competition pits teams of technicians, engineers and students in a test of their combined abilities; “a stage to highlight the knowledge, skill and integrity that is the foundation of today’s and tomorrow’s AMTs and AMEs.”

Businesses must take an active role in building the aviation maintenance workforce. Potential and current employees need to continually invest in skills and capabilities. In addition to powering the industry growth projected by the models and forecasts, the product is a fulfilling career, a healthy industry and safety in the air — no matter the form of the aircraft.

Read More:

The Perfect Storm of Aviation Work Force Issues (AviationPros, 8/5/2014)
Growing People off the Spreadsheet (AviationPros, 8/8/2014)
Aviation Maintenance Careers: We Can’t Fly Without You

7/8/14 - Update: Congress Works to Build Technical Workforce

July 8, 2014

On July 9, the House of Representatives passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)  by a 415-6 vote.

“ARSA commends bipartisan congressional action to approve the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” said Daniel Fisher, vice president of legislative affairs. “The U.S. aviation maintenance industry is growing, yet year-after-year ARSA members cite skilled worker shortages as one of the top challenges facing their companies. The legislation is a step forward toward updating the federal government’s outdated workforce training regime.   To build upon this effort, Congress, working with the FAA and industry, must modernize the Federal Aviation Regulation’s part 147 to allow aviation maintenance technical schools to produce the next generation of qualified skilled workers.”

The bill is now ready for the president’s signature.

3/25/14 - Congress Works (Slowly) to Build Technical Workforce

March 25, 2014

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are shining a rare spotlight on a problem that has plagued the aviation maintenance industry for years: the technical worker shortage.  While the federal government could be doing much more to address this economy-wide crisis, Congress is expected to take a step in the right direction the week with passage of legislation to overhaul skilled worker programs and replace the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (H.R. 803) eliminates duplicative workforce programs, streamlines many of the burdensome requirements that hamstring the existing outdated workforce system and allows for increased incumbent worker training.  Additionally, the legislation will provide greater flexibility to state, local, and regional boards to tailor services to an area’s specific employment needs.  The Senate approved WIOA by a vote of 95 to three on June 25.

H.R. 803 is scheduled for House consideration this week and should pass with bipartisan support.  While modest in scope, the legislation takes important steps toward addressing worker shortages and ensuring the federal government is using limited resources to give future employees in-demand skills.

To view a summary of key provisions of the Senate version of WIOA visit: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/1864afcb-c7e5-48a5-85e4-9e4904688e42/wioa-onepager.pdf



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