After almost a year in limbo, FAA reauthorization legislation is on the move again on Capitol Hill. The FAA bill is important because it provides several years of budget authority for the agency and establishes policy priorities. The agency has been operating under a series of short-term extensions since the last multi-year bill expired in September of 2015.
Industry is angling to include a provision in the bill that would establish a new program to attract and train the next generation of aviation maintenance workers. The legislation would authorize $5 million dollars per year for a new grant program to incentivize collaboration between businesses, labor organizations, schools, and local governments to address the aviation technical workforce skills gap.
The workforce language was introduced as a stand-alone bill (S. 2506) in the Senate last month by Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). A House companion bill is expected to be introduced this week, an industry coalition will be working to add it to the underlying FAA bill when it goes to the House floor the week of April 23.
Those interested in becoming more involved in the effort to enact S. 2506, should contact coalition leader and Aeronautical Repair Station Association Executive Vice President Christian A. Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.