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Where have all the aviation professionals gone?

You can hardly visit a professional aviation website or attend an industry event without reading something about the gloomy state of the aviation industry’s future. And it has nothing to do with user fees or taxes or the snail’s pace of new aircraft development programs: Nope, the future they’re all talking about revolves around where the next generation of pilots, maintainers, controllers – and pretty much everyone associated with aviation – is going to come from?

Believe me, if you haven’t experienced the ‘help wanted’ problem, you soon will. No company is immune to it. For someone like me who is so very thankful to make aviation my life’s work, it’s almost impossible to imagine why today’s young professionals aren’t excited by the opportunity to make a career out of flying, fixing, managing or marketing today’s fantastic flying machines.

After sharing this early epidemic problem with a lot of my aviation peers – the consensus amongst us is that the solution is too big for any one company to undertake. It’s going to take a consolidated effort by everyone involved – from the FAA down to the smallest flight school – to change the current course.

But where do we start? My personal opinion is we need to reach out to the middle- and high schools with a clear message that aviation is a pretty great career choice. I’d be willing to wager a Texas BBQ lunch that if you ask the typical student about an aviation career they would say it’s a pilot, flight attendant, or, possibly, a mechanic. It depends on which movie they most recently watched.

They have no clue about all the various careers aviation offers. Piloting is just a small part of it all. There are plenty of great career paths in engineering, manufacturing, management, IT, simulation, UAVs – even in marketing. Again, the problem is that young people just aren’t hearing about aviation as a career option. And it’s not their fault – no doubt the majority of school career counselors don’t think of aviation as a path to a well-paying future.

So what can we do about it? I wish I had the foolproof answer. I can suggest that everyone reading this reach out to their local schools and offer to host some students at their facility for a tour. Or visit the school and put on a presentation. Maybe offer summer internships to STEM students.

Or just do a few short YouTube videos on some of the more interesting types of work that your company provides. No step is a bad step. And it’s not a problem that we can solve overnight.

Oh, and speaking of solving a problem: If anyone out there knows of anyone looking for a job, Genesys Aerosystems has a number of great career openings.  Check out our job postings here.

Until next time, fly safely,