NBAA Tells Congress: Workforce Growth Key to Continued US Aviation Leadership

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-431-5970,

Washington, DC, July 10, 2024 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today highlighted the need to redouble the focus on attracting the next generation of industry professionals as a national priority, and urged Congress to ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effectively implements plans contained in the agency’s newly enacted reauthorization to build a workforce that preserves America’s global aviation leadership.

An emphasis on promoting workforce-development initiatives was the central theme in testimony provided by Jo Damato, CAM, senior vice president of education, training and workforce development with NBAA, before a hearing convened by the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee.

“This hearing highlights the importance of recruiting, retaining and engaging aviation talent, and underscores the work that must be energized” to ensure a large, qualified and diverse cohort of industry professionals is equipped to lead the industry in the years ahead, Damato said. She noted that the issue is a top concern for business aviation, which supports 1.2 million U.S. jobs and $247 billion in economic output.

Damato, who learned to fly as a teenager and trained other pilots before joining NBAA, recently represented business aviation on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force, an industry-government group formed to provide workforce-development recommendations to federal transportation leaders.

The subcommittee’s hearing comes as the industry confronts a pressing, two-fold challenge: first, analysts predict that hundreds of thousands of aviation professionals, with a diversity of skill sets, will be needed in the coming decades; second, and of equal concern, a series of bottlenecks – including financial and cultural barriers, limited access to information and other hurdles – are impeding the workforce growth needed to meet the coming demand.

Damato joined the hearing panelists in commending Congress for its bipartisan collaboration with NBAA and others to address the issue, largely through workforce-focused provisions included in the recently codified FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024. Specifically, the legislation helps remove barriers for aviation career seekers, while expanding the industry’s workforce “pipeline” and improving training standards.

“This pipeline is critical to our strength as a nation,” Damato said, adding that if the provisions in the FAA bill to support it are implemented effectively, the aviation community will be equipped to move forward on job growth “in ways that have not been possible in recent decades.”

To illustrate her point, Damato cited several prescriptive measures in the FAA law that are aimed at catalyzing aviation workforce development. Those measures – which reflect recommendations from the DOT’s Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force, as well as guidance from a related government-industry group, the FAA’s Women in Aviation Advisory Board – include language to:

  • Build early awareness and engagement with young people;
  • Improve access to information about careers in aviation and aerospace;
  • Create a national strategic plan for workforce development that connects existing programs;
  • Provide financial support to pursue training and education, and;
  • Address factors that negatively impact the recruitment and retention of women and other minorities.

“We applaud the leaders on this subcommittee, and in both congressional chambers, who understand that America’s leadership in aviation is central to the nation’s leadership in the world,” Damato said. “An investment in a highly trained and dedicated workforce is an imperative not just for the industry, but for the citizens, companies and communities that depend on it.

“We thank the subcommittee for holding this hearing, and we look forward to working with Congress to promote initiatives that ensure the U.S. remains the global leader in aviation, five, 10 and 25 years into the future.” 

Read Damato’s full written testimony before the July 10 hearing of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation.

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via email. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release email list, submit the online form.