As Congress prepares for critical FAA reauthorization, Senator Reverend Warnock previewed new legislation he will soon introduce to strengthen and modernize the aviation workforce during today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing
Senator Reverend Warnock highlighted how Congress can bolster aviation workforce development and modernization through funding for educational institutions, growing pool of potential aviation industry applicants to better reflect the country
Senator Reverend Warnock: “The current workforce shortage presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize our aviation workforce and industry from the ground up”
WATCH: Video of the Senator’s full remarks
Washington D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, highlighted the need for strong federal support to grow and modernize the nation’s aviation workforce at a committee hearing, and pressed the importance of funding educational institutions and expanding the aviation industry’s recruitment pool to address the national aviation worker shortage. During the hearing, the Senator also extolled the aviation industry’s major imprint in Georgia, including serving as the home of Delta Airlines and the nation’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; the Senator stressed the need in Georgia to reduce barriers of entry blocking career access and equity.
“The aviation workforce development legislation that I am working on right now will grow and strengthen the entire industry by educating and recruiting a vibrant and diverse workforce with emphasis on training tomorrow’s aviation workers who are currently underrepresented in the industry,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “All of us have a stake in this, and I look forward to working with the Committee to ensure this year’s FAA reauthorization includes critical workforce development provisions that further develop and sustain the industry.”
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Warnock has been focused on ensuring the needs of Georgia’s aviation industry are represented as the committee prepares to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the principal federal agency overseeing air travel. Senator Warnock is pushing to make sure priorities for Georgia are addressed in the final reauthorization legislation, including boosting federal support to strengthen the nation’s slowly-dwindling aviation workforce. During the hearing, Senator Warnock highlighted how the vast majority of aircraft pilots, flight engineers, mechanics, and technicians come from similar backgrounds, and emphasized the importance of investing in educational opportunities and training programs to grow the next-generation of aviation employees, including workers from low-income or rural communities, who identify as women, or are people of color. The Senator also questioned the hearing witnesses about the important role education plays in addressing the current workforce shortage, as well as growing and supporting a modern and representative aviation workforce. The Senator closed his questioning by previewing new legislation he plans to introduce in the coming weeks to boost representation and close gaps in the nation’s aviation workforce.
Watch video of the Senator’s full remarks HERE.
Read key excerpts of the Senator’s remarks below:
“I believe Georgia is this country’s most important aviation state. Georgia’s home to Delta Airlines and the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, aerospace products are both the state’s top export and its second largest manufacturing industry—one that is responsible for an annual economic impact of over $57 billion. Most importantly, Georgia’s aviation industry employs more than 108,000 people spread across over 800 different companies. But as we have heard today, there is a severe workforce shortage affecting our aviation industry—something that should concern all of us.”
“The current workforce shortage presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize our aviation workforce and industry from the ground up. We ought to not only see this as a challenge, but an opportunity. The entire education system has an important role to play in not just addressing this shortage, but also growing and supporting a modern and representative aviation workforce.”
“The aviation workforce development legislation that I am working on right now will grow and strengthen the entire industry by educating and recruiting a vibrant and diverse workforce with emphasis on training tomorrow’s aviation workers who are currently underrepresented in the industry. All of us have a stake in this, and I look forward to working with the Committee to ensure this year’s FAA reauthorization includes critical workforce development provisions that further develop and sustain the industry.”