ARSA Congressional Initiative to attract prospective AMTs to Aviation Safety

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Forecast Aviation Maintenance Technician supply  < than the Projected Demand

Normal Supply/Demand Curve not appear to be working

ARSA convinced Congress to Fund Grants to increase attraction of AMTs

Within aviation it is axiomatic that there will be significant shortfalls in pilot and aviation technicians labor pools. Economics 101 teaches one that when demand exceeds supply, the salary for prospective AMTs will increase. The theorem continues that the higher wages will attract potential hires. One would assume that the projected demand>supply should lead to a significant increase in qualified AMTs due to higher salaries.

Evidentially, the market for AMTs is not functioning according the graph defined by Alfred Marshall, Adam Smith, Sir James Steuart and John Locke is not working as predicted by these famed economists. There is no rush of bright, young people to become AMTs. Evidentially, there is some market malfunction inhibiting a mass of people from moving towards Part 43 certificates from Part 147 schools .


ARSA, one of the aviation trade association’s most savvy at lobbying, went to Congress to proactively address this anomaly. The FAA Reauthorization Act and the FY 2020 existing proposal authorize and would appropriate spending to stimulate students to seek AMT careers. Spending $5,000,000 in $500,000 grants issued by the FAA is their preferred solution. [see below for the statutorily designated grants.]

Inserting federal funds into the education sector to increase the throughput of labor force into the AMT job category is not one of the FAA’s traditional areas of expertise, i.e.

How best promote[1] AMT as a career?

Which school can best administer these funds?

Will it be more effective to build on existing, proven schools or should the grants be awarded to entities trying to expand the labor pools; for example, community colleges in areas of high unemployment?

Should the moneys be allocated for new innovative, lower cost techniques?

This is a major task and any effort to really impact this crisis will require more than $5M; for example, just an advertising campaign to inform the labor pool of this need for AMTs could consume all of that appropriation.

Congratulations to ARSA for acting and not just complaining. Here are some other initiatives which may also be useful:

Economic Development Officers—Read These Two Articles And Start An AMT School

Congress Offers Bills Intended To Help On AMT Shortage

Mr. Green’s Donation To CCCC’s AMT Program To Stimulate Needed Mechanics

West Virginia’s Marshall University And Yeager Airport Consider An Aviation Campus

Aviation Maintenance Market Up & Looking To Find Future Talent

Shortage Of Pilots & Mechanics Needs An Immediate, Aggressive & Comprehensive Response By Academia, Industry & The FAA

Today’s Charles Taylors Need The Aviation Maintenance Sector To Help Develop The New Skills

Shortage Of Pilots & Mechanics Needs An Immediate, Aggressive & Comprehensive Response By Academia, Industry & The FAA

Positive Developments In Recruiting Of Future Aviation Maintenance/Mechanical Technicians


News About Back To Aviation School

Sec. Chao And ALPA Have Some Ideas About Pilot Shortage—MORE Is Needed

Flight Safety Foundation On Pilot Shortage- Different Part Of The Food Chain

Aviation Pilot Shortage? Marketplace Responds!

GAO Report Of Pilot Shortage Is Inconclusive; So Is The Industry Reaction/Inaction

British Company Grabs A Solution To US Pilot Shortage

RAA’s Initiative On Pilot Shortage May Result In Creative Ideas

Like The Fiscal Cliff, It’s Time For Aviation To Stop Complaining And Begin To Implement Solutions To The Pilot Shortage!

Boeing Forecasts Unprecedented 20-Year Pilot Demand As Operators Face Pilot Supply Challenges

Southern Utah’s Part 147 Exemption Should Be Granted

United Airlines And Metro State University Offer A Path To The Cockpit, But Is It Enough To Prime The Pilot Pump?

Pilot Schools Overcharge? Caps On Tuition = No Students? Alternative(S)?

Republic Airlines Relationships With Schools- A Catalyst For Pilot Supply?

Florida Institute Of Technology & Other Aviation Universities As Sources Of Future Aviation Professionals

Houston School Shows How To Capture The Attention Of Prospective Aviation Students

Innovative Paths To The JetBlue Cockpit

Congress Fully Funds New Aviation Maintenance Workforce Grant Program

December 17, 2019


In a major victory for the aviation maintenance industry, the FY 2020 appropriations deal unveiled by House and Senate negotiators Dec. 16 includes full funding for a new aviation technician workforce development program.

Section 625 of last year’s FAA reauthorization bill authorized $5 million annually for five years to support the education and recruitment of aviation maintenance technical workers and the development of the industry’s workforce. It also created a parallel program, authorized at the same level, to support pilot education.









Congress created the programs to address the workforce crisis confronting the U.S. aviation sector. An analysis by Boeing suggests that airlines in North America will need 189,000 new technicians and 206,000 new pilots over the next two decades. The consulting firm Oliver Wyman has forecast that demand for aviation maintenance technicians will outstrip supply by 2022. More than two-thirds of U.S. companies responding to ARSA’s 2019 member survey reported vacant technician positions.


ARSA led the coalition that created the maintenance grant program and lobbied for its funding. More than 40 national, state and local organizations representing all segments of the aviation industry supported the effort. The original sponsors of the bills that created the technician grants (see March and May 2018 updates below) were Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) and Mark Wayne Mullin (R-Okla.).







“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplish with our coalition partners and pleased that Congress has acted in a truly bipartisan way to tackle a problem with significant consequences for both the aerospace community and the broader U.S. economy,” ARSA Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein said. “The new program will encourage local partnerships and innovative thinking about how recruit and train the maintenance professionals the aviation industry needs to thrive in 21st century.”

The technician program supports a wide variety of aviation maintenance workforce development recruitment and training activities. Grants of up to $500,000 may be used to:

  • Establish new educational programs that teach technical skills used in aviation maintenance, including purchasing equipment, or to improve existing such programs.
  • Establish scholarships or apprenticeships for individuals pursuing employment in the aviation maintenance industry.
  • Support outreach about careers in the aviation maintenance industry to primary, secondary, and post-secondary school students or to communities underrepresented in the industry.
  • Support educational opportunities related to aviation maintenance in economically disadvantaged geographic areas.
  • Support transition to careers in aviation maintenance, including for members of the Armed Forces.
  • Otherwise enhance aviation maintenance technical education or the aviation maintenance industry workforce.

The maintenance grant program was designed to facilitate public-private collaboration and innovation. In order to be eligible, a grant application must be supported by an aviation business or union, a school and a governmental entity.

The ball is now in the FAA’s court to get the grant programs up and running and release funds for worthy projects. While the agency has not indicated when it will start accepting applications, in a sign that the agency is moving in the right direction, the Nov. 26 Federal Register included a notice and request for comment required by the Paperwork Reduction Act regarding the collection by the FAA to select and oversee grant recipients. 

More information about the coalition effort and aviation maintenance skills gap is at


[1] If Chairman DeFazio hears that the FAA is promoting anything, he likely will be upset.


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