On Sept. 17, ATEC presented its Legislative Leadership Award to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).
The award, presented by the council’s board of directors, recognizes elected officials with long professional experience and deep personal commitment to technical education and skills training. As a former member of the Alabama Board of Education and chancellor of the state’s Department of Postsecondary Education, Rep. Byrne has committed a significant portion of his public life to the future of the American workforce.
The ATEC board gathered in Washington this week for the council’s annual Fly-In and fall business meeting. In addition to honoring Rep. Byrne on Thursday, board members crisscrossed the nation’s capital to meet members of Congress, staffers and officials at both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
At every stop, the group’s message was the same: Help aviation maintenance schools build the technical workforce of the future. Board members extolled policymakers to pass laws and develop rules to bolster the efforts of instructors and students as they build the next generation of aviation professionals. In this effort, Rep. Byrne has proven a strong partner.
“Every now and then, we come to D.C. and find an ally who ‘gets it,’” said Ryan Goertzen, ATEC’s president and president of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. “A person already dedicated to the cause of technical education: Someone who recognizes that by building practical, industry-demanded skills, we enhance the welfare of our citizens while guaranteeing the health of our economy. For ATEC, Congressman Byrne is such an ally.”
As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, Rep. Byrne is well-positioned to lead on behalf of institutions that provide technical training.
“Based on [Rep. Byrne’s] record of service,” Goertzen concluded, “and in anticipation of the work he will continue on behalf of the students and instructors in technical programs across the nation, we hold the congressman up as an example of good service to the men and women whose technical skills keep the world safely in flight.”
ATEC is working with targeted lawmakers on a strategy to pressure the FAA to prioritize its AMTS rulemaking by coordinating a letter to be delivered to the agency by a congressional champion. Now that Congress has returned from its August recess the council hopes to unveil that letter - a call to action to modernize 14 CFR part 147 - soon.
Updating part 147 will allow A&P schools to produce the most qualified workers possible, benefiting the broader aviation sector and enhancing the competitiveness of the U.S. maintenance industry. Stay tuned for updates on the effort and how you can push the process forward.
On Aug. 1, ATEC’s business office hosted a teleconference with members of the council's board and FAA officials from the Regulatory Support Division (AFS-600). The topic of discussion was recent revisions to Order 8900.2, which impose new experience requirements for DMEs and prohibit designees from testing more than one A&P applicant at a time.
The agency was surprised to hear that its revisions—which were meant to help the aviation maintenance industry—were actually hindering AMTSs from training qualified mechanics.
The call was the embodiment of ATEC's strong relationship with the FAA and highlighted the benefit of direct engagement. ATEC and the agency agreed to work together on the matter by exchanging information concerning the supply of DMEs, testing protocols, guidance for FSDOs and upcoming revisions to Order 8900.2A.
Stay tuned as the council continues to work the issue.
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.