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28 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS CONCLUSIONS cation may be one of the most productive methods of work- force development. However, it was also revealed that a sig- The purpose of this synthesis report was to better understand nificant portion of the industry does not participate in such the aviation workforce and the current workforce develop- programs, and moreover, may be hesitant to embark on such ment practices in the aviation industry, outside of flight crew, efforts. The reason for this may be that industry organizations airline management, and air traffic management positions. may be unfamiliar with the process of establishing, managing, To conduct this synthesis, a combination of a literature-based and assessing the effectiveness of internship programs, and review and discussions with key organizations within vari- thus have difficulty justifying the effort. ous sectors of the aviation industry and institutions of higher education were performed. An ancillary but important result of the queries and inter- views conducted for this study was the expression of fiscal There are both issues and solutions that exist when it comes concern when it comes to workforce development programs. to meeting the workforce development needs of the aviation Many airports and small aviation industry organizations have industry. Issues revealed as part of this study include: limited resources to dedicate to areas outside of their core business functions. Many interviewees expressed their desire There is little specific data regarding the number and types of jobs that exist in the aviation industry, outside to invest in formal workforce development programs but of flight crew and air traffic management positions. have difficulties receiving budgetary approval to do so. This Recruiting and hiring of the aviation workforce is gen- is particularly true in the public sector, including primarily erally done through open job announcements, despite small general aviation airports owned and operated by smaller the fact that jobs within the industry often require very municipalities with limited funds. specific education and training. As a result, a significant number of the aviation workforce enters the industry FURTHER RESEARCH with little aviation-specific education or experience. Aviation industry organizations, including airports and There is a clear need to have a better understanding of the avi- ground service providers, do engage in various levels ation industry workforce. While the industry has detailed data of workforce development. Such programs are often on the number of registered pilots, the number of airport oper- conducted in-house and tend to focus on entry-level ations staff, for example, is far less explicitly known. This training; further development efforts, particularly for necessary information could be developed through a compre- management training, when performed in-house are hensive survey of the aviation industry workforce. This study often ad-hoc in nature. would include an inventory of aviation jobs at the nation's air- Workforce development in the aviation industry is ports, the aviation support industries, aviation planning, engi- focused on individual training and less on the organi- neering, and consulting firms, and state and federal agencies. zational and systematic components of a comprehen- A study of the wide variety of organizational structures that sive workforce development program. There are a number of professional organizations that exist within these organizations might also be included. have developed training and certification programs for the purpose of developing the existing aviation work- In addition to learning more about the current inventory of force and there are a number of institutions of higher the aviation workforce, an understanding of how profession- education that have developed curricula to educate the als in the industry advance through their careers is needed. A future aviation workforce. professional ethnographic study may reveal the most success- There are a number of innovative practices, programs, ful career pathways for members of the aviation workforce. and activities that leverage the resources of aviation industries and higher education institutions that may opti- Once such an inventory is completed, future research may mize the industry's workforce development strategies. consider the goal of developing comprehensive workforce development programs for the aviation industry that consider This study has revealed that the use of internships and other more than simply employee training, including comprehen- programs that partner industry with institutions of higher edu- sive programs from an institutional level.

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29 Such research may study: It would be useful to study the need for a guidebook for assisting airports and other aviation industry organizations Formalizing and standardizing performance assessment on the concept of workforce development planning. This methods, might include: how to recruit talent, how to nurture and train Analyzing organizational structures to determine the best incoming talent, best practices for organizational efficiency, environments for the workforce to perform, the practice of continuing education, best practices for Developing formal and consistent funding mechanisms to retaining the industry's best and brightest, and succession support continuous and comprehensive workforce devel- planning. opment programs (in part by researching existing funded programs at agencies such as the U.S. Department of Performing an analysis on the best practices of intern- Labor and Education), and ship programs in the industry may lead to the development Creating bridge programs among airports, private indus- of a separate guidebook on creating and management intern- try, and government agencies. Such programs would ship programs. Furthermore, this research could lead to the advance the practice of workforce development in the development of cross-institutional intern and rotational industry to a cross-institutional level. programs.