AAR CORP. launched its 2023 mid skills gap report, which warns that the aircraft mechanic shortage has reached a critical point and urges employers to break down silos and collaborate with high schools, colleges, nonprofits, and elected officials to expand early access to aviation maintenance curriculum and training.
"Mid skills” describes careers that require industry certifications but not a college degree, including aviation mechanics. Recognizing the importance of gathering information on the state of mid skills talent development efforts and providing tangible recommendations for collaboration, AAR launched its first mid skills gap report in 2011.
AAR’s 2023 report includes case studies and opportunities to attract talent under the updated FAA Part 147, which removes a seat time requirement that measures competency based on hours and paves the way for more collaboration and additional training locations.
The company partnered with Choose Aerospace, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to release a general aviation curriculum based upon the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airman Certification Standards into high schools and colleges. Choose Aerospace is aligned with the FAA’s Part 147 certification standards that went into effect last year. AAR recommends the FAA further update regulations to allow AMT candidates who complete a general aviation curriculum in high school, like Choose Aerospace, to take the FAA general exam to become certified. It also calls on lawmakers to pass immigration policies that allow aviation companies to recruit talent from abroad to meet demand.
“We have the facilities to grow. We just need the talent,” said Ryan Goertzen, AAR’s Vice President of Workforce Development. “Companies that invest in training must look to solve the issue not only for themselves but for the industry.”