In a letter to House and Senate leadership, the aviation community urged Congress to once again fully fund the aviation workforce development grant programs created by the 2018 FAA Reauthorization bill.
The grant program, which officially started accepting proposals in January, was authorized at $10 million a year ($5 million for technician programs, and $5 million for pilot programs) through 2023. But for the funds to actually flow, they must also be "appropriated," a process that is just beginning for fiscal year 2022.
"As the industry begins to recover from the worst economic conditions it has ever experienced, the grant programs are more important than ever," said a group of 42 organizations in a letter to transportation and appropriations committee leadership. "Due to pandemic-related economic disruptions, many seasoned pilots and technicians retired early over the past year. This has only exacerbated the shortage of the skilled personnel the industry needs to operate safely and efficiently."
The initial application period for the FAA grant closed in March. FAA officials indicated that a few hundred applications were received for the two programs. To make up for implementation delays, the FAA is expected to solicit another round of applications later this year.
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