Nov. 23, 2021
While diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) issues are starting to take center stage in aviation, the industry still has a ways to go, especially when it comes to education and outreach.
That was the takeaway from the Global Conference on Diversity in Aviation, Aerospace and STEM, hosted by Ohio State University, which was attended by NBAA Professional Development Specialist Emily Tobler. This year’s theme was “Transforming Education, Industry and the Student Experience,” and speakers made clear that a different mindset was necessary, starting with encouraging young girls and children of color that aviation is attainable for everyone.
“Identity starts forming at such an early age, and the aviation industry can do a better job reinforcing accessibility and mindset for those who have often been left out in the past,” said Tobler.
The business aviation industry, for example, whose career paths are often more circuitous than those of a commercial airline career, may garner more interest from students by spelling out a more clear-cut, accessible career path.
A session on inclusivity in air travel for persons with disabilities discussed a number of ways that aviation can enhance and promote accessibility. Business aviation, with its flexibility, diversity of aircraft and accessibility to almost every community, is well-suited to becoming a key player in the growing disability travel market, noted Tobler.
“Ideas included involving the disability community and even setting up a disability advisory committee,” said Tobler. “Aviation companies can also better inform their customers by displaying the ADA logo and making disability accommodations easy to find on their website.”