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PBS, NAHF Offer Unique Aviation Education Opportunity

The National Aviation Hall of Fame and PBS partnered to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to an aviation/aerospace industry struggling with workforce shortages and creating pipelines for future workforce needs.

Aviation organizations from airlines to manufacturers, MROs, and the aviation/aerospace alphabet-soup groups in Washington need to grab on to this golden opportunity to sponsor, promote, fund and otherwise support this effort because it brings PBS – the most trusted name in education – into aviation education.

But aviation/aerospace companies are not the only ones that can leverage this opportunity. Anyone working in aviation education can help scale this to a national effort and at the same time, introduce yourself as the resident aviation education expert at your local PBS station. That’s what I intend to do here in Central Florida.

While elementary school programming exists, nothing has the potential of the NAHF-PBS/ThinkTV initiative delivered through their PBS-created, in-classroom curriculum; the NAHF and PBS websites; social media; PBS Kids programming; and PBS Learning Media. The program, called Learning with Will and Orv, is designed to support teachers and inspire students both in and outside the classroom and emphasizes development of aviation education at remote, rural and otherwise under-represented or under-resourced schools.

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Airline, Aerospace Make Forbes Diversity List

  • Population declines increases urgency to create new pipelines including immigration
  • American competitiveness at risk
  • Job seekers exclude companies not meeting their diversity goals and will raise diversity issues in interviews
  • A quarter of global companies do not have diversity programs
  • 30 top US employers, including the highly regulated, make compelling business case for including those with criminal records
  • Diversity recruiting experts in high demand
  • New pipeline sources needed, affinity groups recommend partnerships
  • Retention of diverse workforce remains a challenge

Twenty five aviation and aerospace companies made the list of the Forbes America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2021 and top among them was Delta at 112 but besting the Atlanta-based carrier was Raytheon Technologies at 78.

Raytheon topping the list of aerospace companies is no surprise given its strong emphasis on education programs designed to increase those pursuing aviation careers including its recent funding of cybersecurity high school programs. In addition, its subsidiary, Collins Aerospace, is heavily involved in educating the next generation including a mobile STEM lab and generous grants to get computer science curriculum into elementary schools. (See FA/AW News’ Education and Workforce Development Resources for Aviation/Aerospace for details and other corporate programs.)

Population Declines Create New Urgency

Lost in the entire diversity debate is the impact on population declines on fulfilling workforce needs in the future. The Center for Disease Control reports US population fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2020.

“Without raising immigration levels now, the US will no longer be the world’s largest economy,” said a new report from George Mason University. “Expanded immigration will ensure that the US workforce can continue to outperform global competitors. [Otherwise], the US will sacrifice its position as the world’s largest economy by 2030. In fact, if current US population trends continue, the US economy will fall behind China’s by 2030 and be only three-quarters of China’s economy by 2050.”