April 1, 2021

Knowing someone already in the aviation or aerospace field can be a huge influence on middle and high school students; teachers and parents, in particular, can greatly influence career choices; and having a nationwide curriculum to let students achieve recognized aviation credentials, such as an A&P certification, would be useful.

These are just some of the findings by the Department of Transportation Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (YIATF).

NBAA Vice President of Educational Strategy and Workforce Development Jo Damato, CAM, participates in YIATF as a member of the Expanded Pathways Subcommittee, which also found that underrepresented groups are much less likely to have awareness of potential career opportunities in the aviation industry.

“That’s why it’s so important to have a national strategy and to get good information out to the public,” said Damato. “Having a one-stop-shopping national aviation website would provide much-needed information to students, parents and teachers. The task force is also exploring concepts for a Summer Teaching Academy program and a virtual counselor program. Many youth do not have access to people in the aviation industry.”

Inspiring young people and providing a clear pathway for students to choose a career in aviation is the challenging goal the Department of Transportation task force has undertaken. The group, comprised of individuals from the aviation industry and the academic community, recently held its second public meeting to discuss recommendations and strategies that facilitate and encourage students to pursue studies and a career in aviation or aerospace.

“We have been meeting regularly since last year and working individually to discover what the impediments are to widespread dissemination of aviation career information,” Damato said. “We have already identified the lack of both a centralized location for aviation career information and a national strategy that engages students and helps guide them on the pathways as missing pieces.

“We need a national database or mechanism that helps track the youths who are showing early interest in the career through participation in aviation-focused youth activities,” noted Damato.

The task force will report its final recommendations later this year.