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Duckworth, Bustos Introduce Bill to Promote Advancement in Technical Aviation Training | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

December 13, 2019

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran, pilot and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve education and training programs at aviation maintenance technician schools. The Promoting Aviation Regulations for Technical Training (PARTT) 147 Act of 2019 would establish performance-based regulations to ensure aviation maintenance education institutions have the flexibility to teach core curriculum reflective of the ongoing technical advances and innovation happening across the aviation and aerospace industry. Joining Duckworth and Bustos are Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative Don Young (R-AK).

We’ve seen amazing innovation and advancements in the aviation industry over the past 50 years and to keep pace, we need to make sure our workforce is prepared to meet today’s technical demands,” said Duckworth. “This legislation will help promote the development of performance-based curriculums needed to modernize education programs and help develop the next generation of highly-skilled aviation maintenance technicians.

We must improve the pipeline from training to the workforce – like the innovative partnership between Rock Valley College and AAR at the Chicago Rockford International Airport in my district – which plays a major role in the economic well-being of our region,” said Bustos. “This legislation will allow for a smoother, more efficient transition to the workforce and ensure aviation students have an up-to-date curriculum. I hope this legislation moves forward swiftly to foster collaboration between industry and educational institutions in order to keep up with advancements in technology.”

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations dictate what educational institutions teach aspiring aviation maintenance mechanics; however, these curriculum requirements have not been updated in over fifty years. The PARTT 147 Act of 2019 would direct FAA to promulgate a new part 147 that would establish the requirements for operating an aviation maintenance technician school certificated by FAA and the general operating rules for those holding that certificate.

According to a survey conducted by the Aviation Technician Education Council, aviation mechanics are retiring faster than they can be replaced.

Given industry growth projections, the anticipated exodus of workforce due to retirement, and a shrinking pipeline, we are looking at a major shortage of aviation technical personnel in the coming years,” said ATEC Executive Director Crystal Maguire. “This Act will help address the growing need by giving schools greater flexibility to design their programs and cater to their local communities, while ensuring students are better equipped for careers in aviation maintenance.”

This important legislation will allow us to better attract and train much-needed aviation mechanics by allowing educators to use modern teaching practices while at the same time adhering to FAA mechanic testing standards for safety,” said AAR President & CEO John Holmes. “We are grateful for the work of Representative Bustos (D-IL), Senator Duckworth (D-IL), and Senator Inhofe (R-OK) in support of filling the need for aviation mechanics in their states and nationwide.”

Full text of the bill can be found here. A number of stakeholders wrote a letter of support for the PARTT 147 Act of 2019, which can be viewed here.

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