FAA Unveils Aviation Maintenance Technical Workforce Development Grant Program

On Oct. 5, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-254). Section 625 of the Act addresses the projected shortage of aviation maintenance technical workers in the aviation industry by directing the establishment of an Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Workforce Development Grant Program. Congress authorized the program through the end of fiscal year 2023.

On Nov. 8, 2019, the Aircraft Electronics Association was one of 42 aviation groups that urged Congress to fully fund technician and pilot workforce grant programs created by Section 625 of the Act.

Ten months later, the FAA announced the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workforce Development Grant Program to increase interest and recruit students for careers in aviation maintenance. The goal is to provide grants to academia and the aviation community to help prepare a more inclusive talent pool of aviation maintenance technicians, to inspire and recruit the next generation of aviation professionals.

Congress appropriated $5 million in fiscal year 2020 to fund projects to address the projected shortages of aviation maintenance technical workers in the aviation industry. Eligible groups may apply for grants from $25,000 to $500,000 for any one grant in any single fiscal year.

Section 625 of the Act identifies the following types of entities as eligible to apply for the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Workforce Development Grants:
(a) Holders of a certificate issued under 14 CFR Parts 21, 121, 135, or 145, or labor organizations representing aviation maintenance workers;
(b) Accredited institutions of higher education (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001), or high schools or secondary schools (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801); or
(c) State or local governmental entities.

The FAA posted the announcement in the Federal Register on Sept. 8, 2020, and will accept public comments until Sept. 23, 2020.

Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program
In addition to the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workforce Development Grant Program, the FAA announced the Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program with a request for comments. Comments regarding the Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program must be submitted no later than Sept. 24, 2020.

Section 625 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and Section 1743 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 identify the following types of entities as eligible to apply for the Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grants:
(a) Air carriers (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102) or labor organizations representing aircraft pilots;
(b) Flight schools that provide flight training (as defined in 14 CFR Part 61) or hold a pilot school certificate (as defined in 14 CFR Part 141);
(c) Accredited institutions of higher education (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001), or secondary schools or high schools (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801);
(d) State or local government entities; or
(e) An organization representing aircraft users, aircraft owners, or aircraft pilots.

Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation
The third workforce development part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is the development of the Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force. The YIATF was created to provide strategies and recommendations encouraging youth to pursue a career in the field of aviation and to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of youth in the aviation industry.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Ric Peri, vice president of government & industry affairs for AEA, by email at ricp@aea.net or by phone at 202-589-1144.

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