June 08, 2023

Duckworth Joins Klobuchar, Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Aviation Workforce Development


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (CST) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, along with U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today introduced the Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act. This bipartisan legislation would address aviation workforce shortages by boosting resources to help recruit and train pilots, aviation manufacturing workers and mechanics.

“As a pilot, I know that investing in aviation-focused workforce development programs helps attract and retain the best talent and keeps our nation at the forefront of global aviation innovation,” said Duckworth. “With our nation’s aviation workforce hard hit by the pandemic, I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues to help grow the pipeline of future pilots, mechanics and manufacturing workers to help the aviation and aerospace industries meet the demands and challenges of tomorrow.”

“Our aviation workforce plays an essential role in keeping our country and our economy moving. We need to make it easier for Americans to pursue a career in this critical field,” said Klobuchar. “By increasing resources for and expanding access to training programs for aviation manufacturers, mechanics, and pilots, this legislation will help address shortages and strengthen our aviation workforce.” 

The Aviation Workforce Development and Recruitment Act would provide grants for eligible projects to support the education and recruitment of pilots, aviation maintenance workers, as well as the aviation manufacturing workforce of the future. Specifically, this bill would:

  • Expand the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s current Aviation Workforce Development Grant program by increasing annual funding for pilot and mechanic training grants;
  • Create a new grant to fund aviation manufacturing workforce development;
  • Raise the maximum grant award for each program to $1 million;
  • Direct the FAA to establish a national strategic plan for addressing projected shortages of aviation workers in the aviation industry; and
  • Expand grant eligibility to projects that support the education and recruitment of aviation manufacturing technical workers and aviation manufacturing workforce development.

Last year, Duckworth introduced similar bipartisan legislation to help meet future needs in our aviation workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.