SD4 - Aviation Workforce Development Study (SJR 30, 2020)

Executive Summary:

During its regular 2020 session, the Virginia General Assembly directed the Department of Aviation (DOAV) to study whether any gaps exist in the development and preparation of the next generation of aviation professionals. Despite many challenges associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic, the DOAV established a Work Group comprised of a wide range of professionals from a number of state and federal agencies, the aviation industry (both manned and unmanned), and academia. The Work Group met three times in a virtual format during the autumn of 2020 to address its charge.

The Work Group identified five areas of concern:

• Lack of awareness;
• Cost;
• Infrastructure;
• Demographic disparities/lack of diversity; and
• Collective bargaining agreements.

Members of the Work Group know these areas of concern represent a number of difficult challenges, but they believe that, through a concerted effort and with the right support, success is highly likely. The Work Group recommends the establishment of a small task force to focus on addressing the areas of concern. Membership on the task force would come from a subset of the SJ30 Work Group.

This task force would help:

• coordinate the efforts of the many and varied agencies, entities and organizations that are interested in addressing the lack of awareness issue;

• enhance aviation education opportunities in the schools;

• oversee the development of more and better outreach programs to be delivered to traditionally underserved audiences;

• address affordability concerns associated with entering the aviation workforce;

• maximize infrastructure resources;

• expand Virginia’s G3 – Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back – program to include skilled trades for the aviation industry;

• work with airlines and labor unions to add some flexibility to the collective bargaining contracts that would permit internships and work/study arrangements to benefit both the students and the aviation industry.