Tucked away in sweeping legislation approved by Congress in October to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration was a $5 million grant program expected to address a looming problem facing airlines.
Studies, like one this year from Boeing, say the demand for aviation maintenance workers will outstrip supply within the next decade.
Suzanne Markle, CEO of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, says trade schools like PIA will benefit hugely from new federal funding. PIA, a nonprofit with programs in aviation maintenance and electronics, offers associate degrees at its main campus at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, and students can enroll in diploma programs at its campuses in Youngstown, Ohio, Hagerstown, Md., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Outreach will be key, Markle says, and efforts are already underway. PIA set a campus attendance record at an open house in West Mifflin earlier this month.
“The industry itself is starved for diverse candidates, and the opportunities are plentiful for female graduates,” Markle says.
Hear the full conversation on 90.5 WESA's The Confluence from Thursday.