June 18, 2019

Leaders from about 60 local and regional aviation groups from around the country recently met in Arlington, TX, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing business aviation today: workforce development.

At the meeting, NBAA staff encouraged local business aviation leaders to collaborate with the association and groups such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to increase student awareness about the career opportunities in the business aviation industry. AOPA, for example, offers a curriculum to high school students interested in aviation careers, which is being taught in about 150 schools.

NBAA has a robust scholarship program to help encourage young people to pursue aviation careers, as well as resources about starting internship programs that it offers to members.

“These students have already raised their hands and said they are interested in aviation as a possible career choice,” said Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA vice president, educational strategy and workforce development. “At the roundtable, we encouraged local and regional groups to build relationships between these students and local aviation employers. We realize that many students may be aware of light general aviation aircraft at small airports, and also the airlines, but they have not yet been exposed to the many careers waiting for them in business aviation.

“We know the interest has been sparked in these students, and we know the local and regional groups want to do more,” she added. “We intend for the roundtable to be the Velcro that sticks all these pieces together.”

Steve Hadley, NBAA’s regional program senior director and the association’s Southwestern regional representative, noted that CAE’s 2018 report predicted that 40,000 new business aviation pilots will be needed through 2028 and development of a skilled future workforce is critical to the industry’s long-term stability.

“These pilot positions will generate high numbers of support jobs to keep crews flying, so the workforce issue demands that aviation associations work together to create innovative solutions,” Hadley said. “We are working to engage local and regional aviation groups to help them get the message out to students that there are plenty of high tech, high paying jobs available in business aviation not just as pilots, but also in positions like maintenance, schedulers, dispatchers, marketing and management.”

Review NBAA’s workforce resources.