Forecast of AMT shortage
One Bill would mandate FAA promulgation of Revised Part 147
Other proposal would offer $500,000 grants for AMT training local collaboration
PROBLEM: Analyses by Boeing and Oliver Wyman forecast that 118,000 new technicians will be needed in North America over the next two decades and that AMT demand will exceed the supply of existing and future students minus retirements by 2022.
Aviation, more precisely aviation safety, will suffer from this shortfall of the skilled mechanics required to keep aircraft airworthy on an ongoing basis.
While a number of innovative responses to the prospect of an inadequate AMT labor force have been implemented,
Congress has offered two possible approaches to fixing this problem.
At the behest of the industry(20 associations, spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council) , US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced a bill (S. 2792) to improve training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools. The legislation requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to modernize 14 CFR Part 147, the regulations which establish the standards and curricula for AMT training schools.
The rules were first promulgated in 1962 and have been subject to piecemeal revisions since then. In 2007, the FAA commissioned an ARAC to review Part 147. The results of this industry-regulator collaborative effort were published as an NPRM on October 2, 2015. The comment period was extended twice. The FAA has not moved this into the Final Rule stage. Industry, like it did with the FAA’s gestation of the Part 23 revisions, appears to have become frustrated and convinced the Senators to mandate its issuance.
A second effort is directed at stimulating the AMT training institutions. Here, ARSA was the lead (again with the support of 20 aviation associations). A House effort, led by a bipartisan group of lawmakers (Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.)) introduced H.R.5701 (no text has been released yet.
This proposal is not only bipartisan but also bicameral, Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]; S.2506 – A bill to establish an aviation maintenance workforce development pilot program which would create a Pilot Program, to be administered by the FAA. Grants of up to $500,000 would be awarded to applications be jointly submitted by a business or labor organization, school and governmental entity evidencing collaborative efforts.
Since the Senate FAA Reauthorization bill has yet to be enacted and since both bills appear to have bipartisan and bicameral, perhaps both bills will be incorporated in the final bill. Since the FAA must reauthorized, these free-standing proposals may actually be enacted this year.
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