National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Summary
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 5
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 6
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 8
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 9
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25643.
×
Page 13

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

3 [We need] to attract new workers to fly and maintain aircraft, manage airports, control air traffic, build and run terminals, and conduct every other job related to advancing a safe, secure, and high-tech aviation industry. B. Eby and P. Lewis, Aviation Workforce Challenges in the United States and United Kingdom Industry Labor Shortage Forecasts The transportation industry is a globally linked system that supported more than 13 million employees in 2016 (BTS, 2016). Air transportation is but one segment of the transportation industry and accounted for 458,600 of these employees. Air transportation, in terms of employ- ment, is smaller than truck transportation (1.453 million), warehousing and storage (915,000), support activities for transportation (660,100), couriers and messengers (641,900), and transit and ground passenger transportation (478,400). Yet, the entire transportation industry is facing a shortage. According to Bertini (2010/2011, p. 33), “Nearly half of the nation’s transportation workforce will be eligible to retire within the next 10 years.” Even though that sentence was penned almost a decade ago as of this writing, the transportation industry labor shortage continues and appears to be accelerating, with the aviation industry significantly affected. Even to the casual observer, it is clear that something unique is occurring in the aviation industry. Numerous media stories, interviews, and congressional testimonies have highlighted the labor shortage in the aviation industry. Although a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report6 did not find evidence of a pilot shortage,7 more recent GAO reports and numerous industry forecasts have indeed verified this shortage. That this issue is dynamic is an understatement. Within a few short years of the 2014 GAO report, it is now clear that the labor shortage in aviation is real and growing. As explained by Young (2010), “There remains a growing demand for a well-trained and continuously developing aviation industry workforce” (p. 3). The baby boomers (those born 1946–1964) have dominated the labor market since the mid-1960s. However, this generation (once 76 million strong) either has left the workforce or will do so soon (due to retirement, illness, and other complicating factors). Yet, the U.S. birth rate has steadily declined during the past 60 years. As shown in Table 1,8 the four generations currently present in the workforce vary dramatically by age and numbers of individuals. According to Byers (2016, p. 7), “At the same time, the national economy is growing and shift- ing toward digitally focused technology, and the global economic environment is increasingly competitive, exacerbating the demand for skilled workers.” To meet the needs of the aviation industry, “emerging workers will require some college, military, or work experience, along with specialized training, to enter the field of aviation” (Byers, 2016, p. 7). This need, of course, has placed greater emphasis on the educational pipeline. C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

4 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges According to Michigan Talent Investment Agency, almost half the companies in Michigan report a lack of qualified people and difficulty in filling key job vacancies (Chambers, 2018). Clearly, Michigan is not alone in this dilemma. Talent shortages are being reported by states throughout the United States. Furthermore, the aviation industry is not alone in this dilemma. Airports are competing especially with the fields of IT, Marketing, Human Resources, Facilities Management, and more to fill key airport positions. As larger airports are structured with departments similar to small municipalities, with personnel needed from multiple disciplines, airports face a competitive labor market that demands innovative solutions. Even so, the aviation industry and the all-important labor pipelines (to include high school and community college aviation programs) were, to some degree, surprised by this shortage. Many in the industry were caught off guard. The labor shortages were anticipated to some degree by just the population demographics, but the federal legislation requiring all commercial airline pilots to hold the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate (passed in 2010) was not anticipated, nor was the rapidly increasing price of flight training, nor the degree to which major airlines began outpacing the ability of regional airlines to both provide pilots for the majors and replace their staffing to maintain current operational tempo. This situation has created a “perfect storm” of factors that now has the industry engaged in an intense brainstorming session several years in the making. As expected, this complex dilemma does not have a simple solution. In fact, both industry stakeholders and educational providers benefit by partnering together and devising innovative solutions to meet this challenge head-on. Only in this way will the aviation industry remain competitive and fiscally strong to meet the needs of future generations. Eno Center for Transportation In March 2019, the Eno Center for Transportation issued a report titled “Aviation Workforce Challenges in the United States and the United Kingdom.” The breadth of this report is useful in that it examined labor shortages in both of those countries. More insightful is the compre- hensive manner in which various aviation industry career paths are examined. The report presents labor forecasts for airline pilots; air traffic controllers; aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul technicians; airport workers; flight attendants; and aerospace manufacturing personnel. Of particular importance to the intended audience of this synthesis is the discussion on airport workers. According to Eby and Lewis (2019), “In the U.S., 485 commercial airports employed up to a total of 3.6 million people with an estimated direct economic impact of $2.68 billion in 2013. These jobs include airport activities employing concessionaires, baggage handlers, managers, and construction workers as well as capital improvement programs that bring in Birth Years Generation Number of Individuals 1946–1964 Baby boomers 74 million 1965–1980 Generation X 55 million 1981–1996 Millennials 71 million 1997+ Generation Z 69 million and growing Table 1. Generations in the workplace.

Introduction 5 architects, construction workers, engineers, and consultants for projects like runway reha- bilitation” (p. 30). The report presents the following airport occupations that are considered “mission critical”: • Airport Development (e.g., architects; real estate professionals) • Airport Operations (e.g., cargo and freight agents; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; baggage handlers) • Airport Security (e.g., security guards; transportation security screeners) • Electricians • Engineering (e.g., civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers) • Financial Analysis and Planning (e.g., accountants; budget and financial analysts) • Information Technology (e.g., computer and information research scientists; computer programmers) • Project Planning (e.g., cost estimators; urban and regional planners) (Eby and Lewis, 2019) Unfortunately, as the report discusses, “each of these occupations has unique workforce challenges, making it difficult to generalize the challenges and thus, inform policy solutions across the entire airport workforce” (Eby and Lewis, 2019, p. 30). That being said, the report does project that additional airport workers will be needed in the future to meet the growing demand for air travel. Although there is some concern that varying degrees of automation will affect both the number of employees needed and the nature of their jobs, wages appear to be increasing across a range of airport occupations. Boeing According to the 2018–2037 Pilot and Technician Outlook conducted by the Boeing Aircraft Company, North America will need 206,000 new pilots, 189,000 new maintenance technicians, and 174,000 new cabin crew personnel through 2037. And although these numbers are quite significant, the worldwide shortages, especially in the Asia Pacific region, are more substantial, totaling 790,000 new pilots, 754,000 new technicians, and 890,000 cabin crew personnel (Boeing, 2018a). As an aircraft manufacturer–produced study, this forecast is based on the current number of aircraft in use, as well as aircraft that are forecast to be produced in light of industry growth predictions. Boeing is predicting that the world’s airlines will need 42,700 new aircraft valued at $6.3 trillion through 2037. North America will need 8,800 of those new aircraft. Interest- ingly, 73% of those are predicted to be single-aisle large jets (as contrasted with regional jets) (Boeing, 2018b). Although Boeing is not recommending how industry should meet these personnel challenges, it is clear that this manufacturer-produced study adds another component to any discussions about future labor shortages in the aviation industry. It also encourages Boeing customers (including foreign and domestic air carriers) to pause and consider how any future aircraft to be acquired to support airline growth will be staffed. As Boeing shares, “Educational outreach and career pipeline programs will be essential to inspiring the next generation of pilots, technicians, and cabin crew” (Todd, 2018, p. 34). Boeing (and likely Airbus Industries) plans to do the heavy lifting of manufacturing enough aircraft to meet future industry demand. But it is up to high schools, community colleges, universities, trade schools, flight schools, fixed-base operators (FBOs), and numerous other stakeholders to make sure that enough qualified personnel will be available to not only the commercial airlines, but also all components of the global air transportation system.

6 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges Helicopter Association International According to the Helicopter Association International (HAI), through 2036, the U.S. heli- copter industry will be short more than 7,600 pilots and 40,600 maintenance technicians. The 2017–2018 study, conducted by the University of North Dakota in partnership with HAI and the Helicopter Foundation International (HFI), included a survey of 250 helicopter companies and operators, as well as an examination of FAA data. The results of this study are considered by HAI to be “the most comprehensive to date focusing on the helicopter industry’s labor trends” (Boyer, 2018, para. 1–3). On the basis of these findings, the helicopter industry admittedly has some work to do. As Matt Zuccaro, President and CEO of both HAI and HFI, stated, “The numbers indicate we have the potential for a serious shortage. We as an industry must start addressing this issue and finding creative ways to attract and keep our workforce in the helicopter industry” (Boyer, 2018, para. 4). Interestingly, the regional airlines are part of the challenge, as uncovered in the study. In fact, the study queried three regional airlines and learned that in 2017, those three airlines recruited, hired, and transitioned to fixed-wing a total of 500 helicopter pilots. As of late 2018, regional airlines including Envoy Air, Skywest Airlines CommutAir, Mesa Airlines, PSA Airlines, and GoJet Airlines have introduced “rotorcraft-to-airplane” transition programs. Participation in such a program can be quite lucrative for a current helicopter pilot. As the Skywest Rotor Transition program website states, “SkyWest is now offering $20,000 in tuition reimbursement for fixed-wing transition training at participating flight schools plus a $7,500 bonus, providing a direct path for helicopter pilots to earn commercial pilot jobs” (Skywest, 2018, para. 1). Although some tend to focus on the pilot shortage, the maintenance technician shortfall is projected to affect the helicopter industry more seriously than the pilot shortage alone. According to the study, “More than 67 percent of respondents to the survey reported current difficulties finding mechanics to employ, with more than six out of 10 respondents being forced to hire mechanics with less experience than required in the past. More than half of the respondents surveyed are concerned this difficulty to find mechanics will inhibit their companies’ ability to grow and expand” (Boyer, 2018, para. 9). Specific challenges to closing this gap include “the cost of A&P training, entry-level pay in the helicopter industry, and competition with larger aviation companies, airlines, and even industries outside of aviation, such as automotive” (Boyer, 2018, para. 10). Keep in mind that although this study analyzed U.S. trends, the global economy will certainly create greater needs than one might realize. For example, “China and India are both poised for aggressive aviation expansion, and there will likely be a corresponding need for expat pilots and mechanics from other countries. This will only add to the shortfall in numbers for both positions [in the U.S.]” (Boyer, 2018, para. 11). The HAI study clearly sheds light on the personnel shortages experienced now and pre- dicted for the future, which will be detrimental to the helicopter industry. As stated by Boyer, “Unless there are some fundamental changes in policy, outreach, scholarships, and access to financing, the industry faces large-scale deficits in the amount of available and qualified licensed and certificated pilots and mechanics” (Boyer, 2018, para. 12). Regional Airline Association In response to the tragic crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009, the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 was signed into law. Among other requirements, this legislation required the FAA to ensure that both pilots and co-pilots of U.S. passenger and cargo airlines possess ATP certification. Subsequently, in July 2013, the FAA implemented the ATP Rule (also referred to as the 1500-hour rule), which required first officers

Introduction 7 to hold an ATP certificate, requiring 1,500 hours total time as a pilot. It was a substantial increase in the number of hours required to serve as a first officer; previously, first officers were required to hold a commercial pilot certificate, which requires a minimum of 250 hours of flight time. The rule also required first officers to have an aircraft-specific type rating, requiring costly additional flight training (FAA, 2013). In recognition of military and collegiate aviation training programs, the FAA granted an allowance for pilots with fewer than 1,500 hours of flight time or who have not reached the minimum age of 23 to obtain a “restricted privileges” ATP (R-ATP) certificate. The R-ATP allows a pilot to serve as a first officer (also known as co-pilot) until he or she obtains the necessary 1,500 hours. Options include the following: • Military pilots with 750 hours total time as a pilot-in-command • Graduates holding a bachelor’s degree with an aviation major with 1,000 hours total time as a pilot • Graduates holding an associate’s degree with an aviation major with 1,250 hours • Pilots who are at least 21 years old with 1,500 flight hours (FAA, 2013, para. 7) Although the Regional Airline Association (RAA) has neither sponsored nor carried out a study on the pilot shortage, it has certainly been focused on the issue because of its effects on RAA members. In its March 2018 Pilot Workforce and Training Solutions Presentation, the RAA pointed out that regional airlines provide the only source of airline service to 64% of airports in the United States and also operate 42% of scheduled passenger departures (2016 data). Yet, even as the aviation industry continues to grow, the regional airline industry is contracting. Specifically, the U.S. regional airlines enplaned 160.15 million passengers in 2007 and only 154.92 million in 2016 (after a high of 164.10 million in 2010) (RAA, 2018). The RAA points out a number of factors that have led to this contraction in the regional airline industry, while the larger aviation industry has experienced strong growth. According to the RAA, these factors include the following: • Major airlines are replacing unprecedented numbers of pilots due to mandatory age 65 retire- ments and growing air service demand during a time when fewer pilots are entering the career than retiring from it. • Regional airlines are a primary career entry point; major airlines draw heavily from regional airlines when hiring. • With too few pilots, airlines have been forced to curtail frequency and, in some cases, exit markets. • Regional airlines provide the only source of air service to many of the smaller commercial- service airports. • Industry contraction is a national crisis. (RAA, 2018, p. 6) Although the regional airlines have increased starting pay, including various levels of tuition reimbursement plans and sign-on bonuses, the airlines balance market wages with profitability. With these challenges, the regional airlines endeavor to ensure a solid industry supply pipeline, and high schools and community colleges certainly factor highly into that pipeline. U.S. Air Force Even though the military has traditionally been the single largest feeder of pilots to the airlines, that situation is no longer the case. In fact, the U.S. Air Force is currently short about 2,000 pilots, of the approximately 20,000 pilots needed. This number equates to a 10% pilot

8 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges shortage, and that is current today, not 10 to 20 years in the future. Understanding the reasons behind the shortage is complex. The increased deployments, especially long-term deployments such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as retirements, are part of the problem. According to then–Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, “There is no one single thing that we can do to fix the problem of retaining pilots and developing new pilots” (Woody, 2017, para. 4). Some recent efforts to combat the shortage have included improved quality of life for pilots and retaining those currently in uniform. Higher bonuses and increased pay have also been adopted in an effort to compete with airlines. These measures are part of 69 initiatives spelled out in a five-year strategic plan, rolled out in 2017, designed to meet the pilot shortage head-on. The plan aims to increase staffing levels to 95% by FY2023 (Woody, 2018, para. 3–4). According to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, “We are in a crisis. If we don’t find a way to turn this around, our ability to defend the nation is compromised” (Woody, 2017, para. 2–3). Summarizing the industry challenge, Gen. Goldfein states, “The problem statement is that we as a nation don’t produce enough aviators, which includes the military, business, and commercial sectors” (Woody, 2017, para. 17). One pipeline for the USAF is the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). An auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the CAP was initially established in 1941 to aid the war effort by looking for U-boats off the eastern U.S. coast. Today, the CAP has three main missions: (1) emergency services, (2) aero- space education, and (3) cadet program. The latter two are of great benefit to high school and college students. The aerospace education initiative benefits students enrolled in K-12. The Aerospace Education Member page on the CAP website provides numerous educational resources, including lesson plans, activities, and textbooks. The cadet program is open to youth ages 12 to 18 and is designed to “Transform youth into dynamic Americans and aerospace leaders” (Civil Air Patrol, 2018a, para. 1; Civil Air Patrol, 2018b). Government Accountability Office The GAO is the government’s audit institution that is charged with investigating all matters related to the use of public funds, collecting data, and preparing reports and testimony on various topics of congressional interest. During 2018, the GAO produced at least three reports and one testimony on labor supply in the aviation industry. Three of these focused on military readiness, while one specifically examined the role of collegiate aviation schools in preparing pilots for the airlines and other roles.9 GAO 18-403, Collegiate Aviation Schools: Stakeholders’ Views on Challenges for Initial Pilot Training Programs, was published in May 2018. In this report, the GAO presented data from FAA, industry associations, accrediting bodies, U.S. Department of Education, and collegiate aviation programs. Recognizing that “collegiate aviation schools with professional pilot degree programs are a key source of new commercial pilots,” the GAO found that flight instructor retention and high cost of training were the two main challenges experienced by these collegiate aviation programs (GAO, 2018a, p. 2). As indicated in the report, “instructors who aspire to be airline pilots are rapidly accruing the flight hours necessary to qualify and are obtaining employment as soon as they are eligible. In addition, regional airlines have recently increased hiring, generating high turnover among flight instructors, who are traditionally their main source of new pilots” (GAO, 2018b, para. 3). Additionally, “the cost of a professional pilot degree program [was indicated] as a great or moderate challenge to recruiting and retaining pilot students. [Specifically,] in addition to tuition, flight training fees alone often exceed $50,000, well above the cap for federal financial aid available to eligible students” (GAO, 2018b, para. 4).

Introduction 9 In sum, the GAO discovered that although the almost 150 collegiate aviation schools that offered professional pilot degree programs in 2015–2016 are a critical piece of the pilot supply pipeline, there are significant challenges to increasing the number of flight training students. To address these challenges, both collegiate aviation programs and industry employers have stepped up. For example, a number of schools have increased their flight instructor compensa- tion and benefits, while the regional airlines have created various cadet programs that create a pathway to the airlines, supplemented by mentorship and incentives such as sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursement (GAO, 2018b). As the major airlines increase and regional airlines increase hiring to replace pilots who transition to the majors, flight instructors will continue to be recruited heavily by the regionals, thus creating a challenging flight instructor shortage for flight schools that train high school and college students. It seems that no level of the labor pipeline is immune to the challenges. Experiences of Other Industries Although aviation is experiencing a significant labor shortage, this problem is actually not unique to aviation. In fact, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) recently presented recruitment lessons learned in other industries. By noting that 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day, NBAA points out that there is projected to be a global talent shortage of 85.2 million people by 2030. Although aviation certainly is included, industries across the economy are affected as well (NBAA, 2019). This situation only heightens competition for eligible workers, making it more imperative to stimulate interest in aviation at younger and younger ages. One example of an industry’s labor shortage and innovative solutions adopted to mitigate this shortage is the high-speed rail industry. In Texas, for example, Texas Central Partners is planning a high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas. This group has performed significant outreach to Texas community colleges to develop a pipeline of labor to support this project. Similarly, in California, California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) offers a bachelor’s degree in industrial automation, designed in part to prepare graduates for a career in the high-speed rail field. The university has also partnered with the Kern High School District and Bakersfield College to meet industry needs. According to Mark Novak, Dean of CSUB Extended University Division, “We’ll have the only high-speed rail training system in the United States, and as other states like Maryland and Texas look at high-speed rail, we’ll become the training center for the whole country” (Pierce, 2016, para. 4). An innovative initiative designed to assist all industries is the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative created in 2014 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. This program is a “demand-driven, employer-led approach to close the skills gap that builds pipelines of talent aligned to dynamic business needs” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, n.d.). In essence, industry employers collaborate with educators and workforce training programs to improve student experiences so that the learning process results in a clear career pathway. In October 2017, the TPM Academy was rolled out. This in-person, six strategy training focuses on developing the capacity of business organizations seeking to organize employer members and orchestrate talent supply chains. The TPM Academy is supported by a curriculum and related software tools that will give staff inside these organizations the knowledge, skills, and ability to implement talent supply chain solutions on behalf of their employer members. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2018, para. 2) This program is but one example of initiatives across the economy to compete for the limited supply of workers. The aviation industry has also developed robust initiatives, but now is not the time to become complacent.

10 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges Available Aviation Career Paths The aviation industry is dynamic and diverse. The industry provides numerous career paths, including some that typical aviation students are blissfully unaware of. Aviation career paths include the following: • Aerospace engineer • Aircraft manufacturing • Airline pilot • Air traffic controller • Airport operations/management • Asset manager • Airport accountant • Airport attorney • Airport designer • Airport engineer • Airport environmental analyst • Airport facilities manager • Aviation maintenance technician • Airport marketer • Airport planner • Airport properties manager • Corporate/business pilot • Customer service • Dispatcher/scheduler • FBO/airline management • Flight instructor • Flight attendant • Meteorologist • Unmanned systems/drone pilot High school and college aviation programs normally offer only some of these paths, most commonly pilot, maintenance, and UAS. Even so, graduates of these programs have a dozen or more career paths they could pursue. Although an airport management career might not be the first career path selected by students, airports can intentionally influence student career deci- sions by their involvement in local high schools and community colleges, as well as K-8 schools (Figure 1). Figure 1. Students receiving an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting station tour. Source: Daniel Prather.

Introduction 11 Role of High Schools and Community Colleges in Preparing Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Community colleges are unique in their role of preparing students to enter the workforce or continue their education at a baccalaureate institution. As stated by Bliss and Kutz (2008, pp. 1–2): Throughout its history, the community college has maintained a curricular mission of responsive- ness to changing patterns in student aspirations and in the local economy. During the past century, community colleges have grown tremendously in number and have changed with the times. No other segment of postsecondary education has been more responsive to its community’s workforce needs. This fact tends to limit the scope of the community college to preparing students to enter only the local workforce. Yet the aviation industry cannot be confined to the local economy. It is, by its very nature, global in scope. Meeting the labor needs of this global industry motivates community colleges to broaden their scope to include not only the local area, but also their region, state, and beyond. And while this larger outlook has traditionally not been within the scope of the community college, administrators would do well to consider how their programs benefit the local economy, as well as the global economy. The community college system in the United States has an important role to play in bridging the gap between high school aviation pathways and the aviation careers students are so eager to obtain. Not every high school graduate will attend a four-year university for a number of reasons, including financial hardship or need to enter the workforce more expeditiously. Community colleges forge a critical link for young adults to obtain additional education and training to become more productive members of the U.S. economy. Former President Obama referred to community colleges as the “21st century job training center.” As shared by Bertini (2010/2011, p. 34): Community college students can make a significant contribution to the transportation workforce. Community colleges can prepare students for transportation careers that require technical and two-year degrees and provide a gateway for students to four-year and postgraduate work. Certainly, community colleges fill an important role in the educational system. According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), community colleges are “the public associate degree-granting institutions attended by nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates and the main source for technicians in the United States” (AACC, 2008, p. 1). These institutions generally offer applied professional programs that readily prepare graduates for entry into the workforce. According to Phillips (2002) (as cited in Bliss and Kutz, 2008), “More than 93% of all major airline pilots have a college degree, and many of those got their start at a community college” (p. 2). In what has historically been true of states across the United States, “Students across the state [of Texas] progress through the public education system with little or no exposure to aviation” (Borowiec and Jasek, 2005). Yet in Texas, as in other states, there have been more intentional efforts during the past decade to generate enthusiasm for aviation by creating aviation pathways at the high school level. For example, Texas began by developing a Texas Summer Aviation Institute to address the problem of this lack of aviation exposure among high school students. This 10-day institute introduced students to the FAA, meteorology, flight, general aviation, commercial aviation, military aviation, and NASA, with numerous field trips and in-class guest speakers (Borowiec and Jasek, 2005). The pipeline for future aviation professionals begins at an early age. Although some might argue that recruiting the next generation of aviation professionals begins in elementary school, it can begin later, and numerous high schools and community colleges throughout the nation

12 Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges have developed aviation-specific pathways or degree programs to prepare the next generation. Thus, this report focuses on the formal aviation programs established at the high school and community college levels. According to research by Steckel, Lercel, and Matsuo (2010), the top three reasons why students chose aviation as a career path in 1991 were (1) challenging work, (2) generally available job openings, and (3) high anticipated earnings. Data gathered in 2010 point to the following reasons: (1) wanted to be a professional pilot, (2) wanted to be in aviation, and (3) wanted job satisfaction. In general, it appears from this research that the challenge of an aviation career and the passion to be part of such a dynamic industry motivate students to pursue aviation as a career path. In Michigan, MiCareer Quest Southeast was held during the fall of 2018 to benefit nearly 10,000 high school students from 107 southeastern Michigan high schools. Billed as a “one-day career exploration event at which teens learn about in-demand jobs from pros in their respec- tive fields,” the event showcased more than 500 working professionals from 114 organizations representing more than 125 of the most in-demand occupations (Chambers, 2018, para. 2). According to Chambers, “Teens were able to fly simulated drones on laptops, get their hands on robots and power tools, and climb into the driver’s seat of a $350,000 natural-gas waste hauler during the event” (2018, para. 6). As a result of this event, Macomb County’s Romeo High School, responsible for sending a freshman class of 450 students to the event, will launch a career academy in 2019 for students in grades 10 through 12 as the state’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community. According to the Romeo High Career Technical Education (CTE) Director, Natalie Davis, “Every student will be part of a career academy, preparing them with the more advanced skills they need to be successful in college, their careers and life” (Chambers, 2018, para. 16). The MiCareer Quest format is effective. “Immersion into hands-on learning is what ultimately helps students find their passion, so they can, in turn, discover their purpose” (Chambers, 2018, para. 19). During fall 2018, the Riverside Community Campus and Aviation Center of Tulsa Com- munity College held a Tulsa Research Kids’ Drone Fly-In. Almost 150 students representing kindergarten through 12th grade were on hand to participate in this unique event that had partners such as Flight Night and the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance. In addition to hands-on drone activities, representatives from the Civil Air Patrol, Birds Eye Film and Photo, and the local media spoke about the benefits of UAS and career paths in the field (Averill, 2018). In the state of Washington, Air Washington was created to train the next generation of aerospace workers. Air Washington is a consortium of 11 community and technical colleges statewide partnering in this effort. The consortium focuses on five areas of study: • Advanced manufacturing • Aircraft assembly • Airframe and powerplant • Composite materials • Avionics/electronics (Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 2014) Additionally, “24 of Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges offer training demanded by the state’s aerospace-related firms, moving well-trained workers into well-paying jobs” (Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 2014, para. 3). The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee designs and implements apprenticeship programs for aerospace and manufacturing occupations (Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 2014).

Introduction 13 Summary The aviation industry continues to cope with a shortage of skilled labor in all segments. The “pipeline” of aviation labor begins in the K-12 educational system. Subsequently, the community college and university systems continue the educational process. Although the educational institutions play a key role in producing career-ready graduates, the industry plays a critical role as well. It is only by partnering with educational institutions that industry can influence the pipeline, thereby shaping the educational link to more fully meet industry needs. As these labor needs are identified, new academic programs can be developed at the high school and community college levels. Airports, one aspect of this industry, are learning the value of industry–education partnerships to ensure a sufficient supply of airport-knowledgeable graduates ready to enter the airport management profession. Whether in the form of advisory board membership, airport intern- ships, guest speaking roles, or other participation, airport staff with a vested interest in securing the next generation of airport professionals are active in local high schools and community colleges. Although these actions require intentionality, students benefit, high schools and community colleges benefit, and, possibly most important, the airport industry benefits.

Next: Chapter 2 - Study Methodology »
Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

More airport operations/management academic programs at both the high school and community college levels would help the airport industry. With baby boomers currently reaching retirement age at the rate of 10,000 each day, and later generations much smaller in size, new employees are not entering the workforce swiftly enough to replace those leaving because of retirement, illness, and other complicating factors.

As a result, the aviation industry, like others, is experiencing a significant labor shortage. With no end in sight, the industry has joined forces in a number of unique partnerships in an effort to not only enhance the quality of current aviation graduates, but also stimulate interest in aviation careers among college students, high school students, and even middle school and elementary school students.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 103: Promoting Aviation Career Education in High Schools and Community Colleges points out the many characteristics of high school and community college aviation programs throughout the country, which could prove useful to airport management. By better understanding the academic programs producing the next generation of aviation professionals, airports can develop proactive efforts to promote the airport profession to aviation programs in their local area and influence young people to seriously consider airports as a viable career path, thus positively affecting the future of the airport industry.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!