A recent ATEC webinar provided insight into how schools are responding and adapting in the COVID-19 environment. While respondents indicate there will be a decline in A&P school enrollments nationally over the course of the next two years, there is also evidence of innovation as schools pursue distance learning opportunities.
An estimated one in five A&P schools are currently suspended, with around five schools voicing concern over the long-term viability of their programs given extended school shutdowns. Around 40 percent of schools expect a decline in anticipated 2020 graduates, by an average of 28 percent. Perhaps more concerning is the nearly half of respondents reporting an expectation that enrollment will decline by an estimated 31 percent in 2020 and 2021.
Respondents expect that 45 percent of 2020 grads will have a job by graduation, down 15 points since December.
The ability for schools to facilitate completion of lab work is by far the biggest challenge facing A&P programs. While 72 percent of schools are providing at least some content online, none reported the ability to facilitate lab work online, greatly hindering their ability to graduate students. Satisfying FAA requirements is seen as the second biggest challenge for certificated programs.
Over half of programs intend to seek permanent authorization to provide content online, compared to around 3% of schools that had distance learning programs before the COVID pandemic necessitated massive school closures. A clear indication of a massive shift in the way aviation technical programs structure programs and access to content.
ATEC continues to advocate on behalf of the community to improve inspector guidance and ease restrictions on online training. It is also working in Congress on the much-needed passage of the PARTT 147 Act, seeking to replace the current, long-outdated rule with new language. Members are encouraged to use the legislative tool kit to engage their legislative leaders and secure additional support for the bill.
To see a recorded version of the webinar, click here.
To see survey results as provided in the webinar presentation, click here.
Stay tuned for updates on everything ATEC members need to know as well as ways that you can help the council and the AMTS community.