Klein Chronicles Workforce Initiatives for Purdue Symposium

On Nov. 8, ARSA Executive Vice President Christian Klein spoke at Purdue University’s inaugural National Aviation Symposium. Klein headlined a panel on national industry workforce demand, presenting on trends in technician employment in the United States.

The Symposium was hosted by Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology to consider pilot and technician shortages. Invited participants represented stakeholders from across the aviation regulatory chain, including airlines, manufacturers, maintenance providers, and government agencies as well as trade associations, unions, and the media.

Klein’s presentation described the challenges facing the maintenance industry in terms of attracting talent. Not only is the industry high-regulated, but its professionals also take on a relatively high level of personal risk in performance of duties while experiencing little positive exposure. As a result of cultural and educational changes, the typical entrant to the overall workforce has less technical acumen and faces considerable training lead time before being a productive member of the workforce. As a result, current employers can only rely on existing personnel, who are aging towards retirement and tend to be less diverse than the larger society.

To build the talent pipeline, Klein underscored the importance of engaging the next generation. He called out the report of the Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force and the upstart nonprofit Choose Aerospace. Sticking to the usual ARSA playbook, Klein also described methods to remove regulatory barriers while coordinating industry and academia involvement to open new opportunities for trainees.

Klein closed by explaining these opportunities can be marketed through broader industry visibility and emphasis on career pathways. These pathways should build off of stackable training credentials – so specialists can enter careers and grow into more-highly certificated personnel – and target previously unreached groups by removing structural burdens within the hiring process.


For more information on specific elements of Klein’s presentation, use the following links:

Aviation Workforce Grant Programs (Pilot/Technician)

Choose Aerospace

National Center for the Advancement of Aviation

Repairman Portability

The “new” 14 CFR part 147

The Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

To learn more about the Symposium, click here.

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