Following Calls from Sinema, FAA Announces Expansion of Aviation Training Programs to Keep Our Skies Safe and Prepare Arizona Students for the Jobs of the Future

Sep 9, 2020

WASHINGTON – Following the urging from Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and a bipartisan group of Senators, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration announced they are fully implementing Congressionally-authorized aviation workforce grant programs. Aviation workforce training grants equip Arizona students with needed tools to succeed in the jobs of the future and ensure skilled aviation employees keep our airways safe.
“Expanding aviation training helps ensure America’s skies remain safe while preparing Arizona students for good-paying jobs of the future,” said Sinema. 

“Pima Community College sponsors a nationally recognized Aviation Technology program, and its Aviation Technology graduates are in high demand.  We are in the midst of a construction expansion that will allow PCC to double its existing student capacity in order to meet the needs of employers in this high-demand field.  Funding for additional technology, equipment, outreach, and scholarships will be key to the success of our expanded program, and those of other community colleges across the nation.”  — Chancellor Lee Lambert, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona.
Congress approved two workforce education grant programs to address workforce challenges faced by the aviation industry. The first program provides grants for the development of high-school curricula that helps students get needed skills to succeed in pilot school. The second program funds aviation technician workforce programs at universities, community colleges, and trade schools. 
Despite the fact that Congress appropriated money to fund both these programs, neither program was operating, prompting Sinema and a bipartisan group of Senators to call on the FAA and DOT to begin the roll out of these programs. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the rate at which commercial airline pilots and aviation mechanics are retiring, and there are concerns within the aviation industry that when air-travel returns to pre-pandemic levels there will be a shortage of qualified pilots and mechanics. These grant programs will help address these shortages.
Read Sinema’s full letter HERE.