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5 CHAPTER TWO AVIATION INDUSTRY WORKFORCE In virtually all professional industries there is a tremendous REGIONAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL need for talented individuals to contribute to an organization's GOVERNMENT AVIATION DEPARTMENTS mission. Organizations within the civil aviation industry are no different. The FAA itself has a workforce of more than 48,000 profes- sionals located throughout the United States dedicated to the One of the great challenges in developing the aviation safe operation of the national aviation system. Aside from industry workforce is that the wider professional industry is the thousands of air traffic controllers, the FAA employs the not generally aware of the multitude of professional oppor- spectrum of professional needs, from inspectors to analysts, in tunities found in aviation. Little research quantifying the areas ranging from operational safety to capital planning (6). numbers and varieties of jobs within aviation has been pub- With several geographic regions and operating entities, the lished, and even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has FAA is a large government organization with particular work- focused the majority of its aviation workforce statistics on jobs force development challenges. Although a comprehensive within the commercial air carrier industry, with an emphasis assessment of the FAA's workforce development needs is on aircraft crew (pilots and flight attendants), aircraft main- beyond the scope of this synthesis, it can be noted that many tenance, and customer service (such as ticketing agents and of these needs, as well as the opportunities to meet those chal- gate agents) positions (3). lenges, are in many ways similar to those of airports and other areas of the industry. Outside of commercial air carriers, the aviation industry includes a wide variety of professions within general avia- There is concern within the FAA that the organization will tion, air traffic management, airport operations and manage- be challenged to find sufficient workforce talent to meet its ment, and aviation system planning and engineering. This needs over the next 2 to 10 years. Increasing workloads on synthesis focuses on those segments of the industry that sup- the current workforce are being perceived as causing stress port both commercial air carriers and general aviation, with and burnout across the workforce. particular emphasis on the segment of the industry that pro- In addition to the FAA, which employs a federal-level vides the infrastructure and services to support both com- workforce, each of the 50 U.S. states employs aviation experts, mercial service and general aviation operations. These ser- often within their state departments of aviation. According to vices are most often performed by airports and the ground The National Association of State Aviation Officials, approx- services companies on, and off, airport property. imately 2,700 full-time professionals work for state avia- tion departments. Individual state aviation departments are According to the National Air Transportation Association often relatively small and as such also have relatively lim- (NATA), a member-driven professional services organization ited resources to dedicate to formal workforce development representing the aviation industry, more than 2,000 member programs. companies directly serve the aviation industry by providing fuel, on-demand charter, aircraft rental, tie-down and storage, As with most other industries the FAA and state aviation flight training, maintenance, parts sales, baggage handling, departments in particular foresee challenges associated with an line service, and business functions to aviation users (4). Many aging workforce; ranging from adapting to new technologies of the NATA member companies are small businesses using and operational paradigms to increased rates of retirement and relatively small staffs to provide a wide variety of technical attrition. Because of limited budgets and an already heavy and administrative functions. workload within the workforce, relatively few resources are currently devoted to workforce training and development. According to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), a member-driven professional services organiza- tion representing corporate and business aviation, more than AIRPORTS 8,000 companies employ professionals in aviation-related jobs (5). Many of these companies do not consider business The airports element of the civil aviation industry alone aviation as their core business focus, but have corporate flight accounts for more than 5,000 public-use facilities and nearly departments to aid in the transportation of their workforce. 15,000 additional privately owned airfields. Nearly 500 of

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6 these airfields accommodate commercial air carrier service, workers to high-level management. Within this wide variety whereas more than 4,000 public-use facilities routinely accom- of jobs, special knowledge of aviation and airport operations modate business and corporate aviation. The FAA's National is needed for successful and safe job performance. Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) recognizes more than 3,000 civil-use airports in the United States as impor- The most fundamental of airport jobs are similar to those tant components of the nation's aviation and transportation jobs found in any private or public agency, and include such systems (7 ). A 2004 study by Southern Illinois University, jobs as janitorial services, operation of parking toll booths, Carbondale (8) estimated that more than one million people concession staff (including servers, cooks, and bus staff), were employed at commercial service airports alone, with and groundskeepers, and frequently have the most basic of nearly 50,000 professionals directly employed by airport spon- requirements, such as the ability to effectively communicate sors. Airports throughout the United States are considered in English and have the proper credentials for employment vital elements of local, regional, and national economies. A in the United States. talented workforce is continuously needed for these important facilities to thrive. Operations jobs that have increasing responsibilities and are increasingly sensitive to the safe operation of the airport in turn Airports in the United States operate under a wide variety have increasing requirements. The following jobs often require of public and private agencies. Many smaller municipal air- a high school degree and a driver's license, as well as some spe- ports are managed by a small staff often led by a manager who cialized skill, often learned at the beginning of employment: is also responsible for other municipal functions. Under these circumstances, individuals on staff are required to perform Landside transportation drivers (e.g., shuttle bus drivers), a wide variety of tasks, often with little specialized training Airside line service staff (fueling, baggage handling, in any particular task. Smaller airports are also often highly marshalling of aircraft, etc.), Clerical staff, financially constrained, which limits their ability to formalize Facilities maintenance staff, and any workforce development programs. These smaller airports Customer service representative. tend to attract professionals relatively new to the industry and experience relatively high levels of employee attrition as pro- Other operational jobs require industry certification in spec- fessionals move to larger airports where positions of increas- ified areas. These certifications are often earned by attending ing responsibility and specialized functions are often found. training courses and completing one or more examinations. Such jobs include: These larger airports, which often operate as large bureau- cracies under a local governmental agency or public author- Air rescue and firefighting, ity, tend to require professionals who have specialized exper- Public safety, and tise in particular airport management functions. Such airports Security. face the challenge of providing professional training to a larger number of employees on a variety of topics. In addition, larger These entry-level jobs typically require less than 1 year of airports confront the challenges of coordinating among orga- work experience and are considered to be the first jobs that nizational departments, particularly when it comes to institu- new members of the workforce would be employed without tional-level workforce development. prior work experience. As illustrated in Figure 1, professional positions at the Jobs that have basic supervisory responsibilities or involve nation's airports vary considerably, from entry-level wage some form of technical analysis tend to require an undergrad- FIGURE 1 The airport industry is comprised of a wide variety of professional jobs.