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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Study Methodology." 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.
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Page 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Study Methodology." 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.
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Page 15

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14 Recipients/Participants To better understand the role of high schools and community colleges in educating the next generation of aviation professionals, this study’s staff sought the number of high schools and community colleges with aviation programs. Because of the lack of a common list, especially of high schools with aviation programs, the University Aviation Association (UAA) was contacted to learn which high schools and community colleges offered aviation programs. Although the UAA does have a high school membership category, the organization is mostly composed of college and university members. The UAA supplied a list of high schools with aviation programs, numbering 309. To ensure an accurate list of aviation high schools or high schools with at least one full year of aviation courses, it was necessary to properly vet the list. Upon review, 203 Junior ROTC programs with no aviation courses were purged from the list, resulting in a usable population of 106 high schools. Although that list likely did not represent the total population of high schools with aviation programs, it did represent the most complete list available at the time this study was being done. The UAA-provided community college list numbered 105 colleges. Upon review, no programs were purged from that list. According to the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 66,758 public secondary intuitions and 2,946 private secondary institutions in the United States in the 2015–2016 school year. During this same period, there were 910 public two-year colleges and 669 private two-year colleges in the nation. Of the number of high schools and community colleges determined for this synthesis, aviation courses or programs are offered at approximately 0.15% of high schools and 6.5% of community colleges. That low percentage exists even though aviation accounts for more than 5% of the U.S. gross domestic product, contributes $1.6 trillion in total economic activity, and supports nearly 11 million jobs (FAA, 2016; National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). Survey Methodology To fully understand the issues addressed by this synthesis, the study team performed a thorough literature review. Specifically, an extensive literature search was conducted on the topic of the aviation labor shortage, aviation education, and airport careers through Google, Google Scholar, One Search (powered by EBSCO), TRID database [records from TRB’s Trans- portation Research Information Services Database and the Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation Database of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)], and the FAA website. In addition, two unique surveys were developed to gather data from high schools and community colleges. It was important to learn from those engaged in the education of future C H A P T E R 2 Study Methodology

Study Methodology 15 aviation professionals. If a high school or community college identified one or more airports in which partnerships had been developed, those airports were also contacted to learn more about those partnerships. Response Rate High Schools On November 19, 2018, the survey questionnaire titled ACRP Promoting Aviation Career Education Survey of High Schools was e-mailed, via SurveyMonkey, to 280 recipients. The popu- lation was eventually reduced by 6 bounced e-mails, 24 opt-outs, 155 ROTC-only programs, 22 programs that offered only one aviation course (not qualifying as a program) or programs that no longer existed, resulting in a usable population of 73 institutions. Each person com- pleting the survey received an automated thank-you e-mail via the SurveyMonkey platform. Per the planned survey follow-up protocol, an e-mail reminder was sent to 38 nonrespondents on November 26, 2018. A second e-mail reminder was sent to 35 nonrespondents on November 29, 2018. A third e-mail reminder was sent to 32 nonrespondents on December 5, 2018. The total response rate by December 8, 2018, was 58%. On December 10, 2018, telephone contacts began with the remaining 42 nonrespondents. On February 5, 2019, the survey was closed with 59 total responses and an 81% response rate. Community Colleges On November 19, 2018, the survey questionnaire titled ACRP Promoting Aviation Career Education Survey of Community Colleges was e-mailed, via SurveyMonkey, to 105 community college recipients. The population was eventually reduced by 8 bounced e-mails, 2 opt-outs, 3 four-year colleges, 4 for-profit trade schools, and 15 programs that no longer exist (discovered via phone). Each person completing the survey received an automated thank-you e-mail via the SurveyMonkey platform. Per the planned survey follow-up protocol, an e-mail reminder was sent to 58 nonrespondents on November 26, 2018. A second e-mail reminder was sent to 52 nonrespondents on November 28, 2018. A third e-mail reminder was sent to 45 non- respondents on December 5, 2018. The total response rate by December 8, 2018, was 41% (30 responses out of a usuable population of 73 community colleges). On December 10, 2018, telephone contacts began with the remaining 43 nonrespondents. Phone call follow-ups were completed on February 5, 2019, with 61 responses and an 84% response rate.

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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.

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