Data Troubles Impede FAA Workforce Progress

In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would be able to improve and diversify its workforce through improved data collection and analysis capabilities.

The FAA only employs mechanics that are “certified by the FAA approve aircraft for return to service.” While FAA does have some data on the number of newly FAA-certified aviation maintenance employees, it does not track data on how many individuals leave the aviation industry or the extent of increasing workforce demand.

Stakeholders are said to have expressed some concern “that retirements and attrition could adversely affect the capacity of this workforce to meet the growing demand for air travel, and that the mechanic curriculum is outdated.”

“Government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses coordinate to some extent in support of this workforce, but FAA does not routinely analyze, collect, or coordinate with other stakeholders on certain data related to workforce development,” the GAO report said. Additionally, it said that FAA is unable determine whether its workforce efforts are optimally targeted or effective, despite one of its strategic objectives being to promote developing a robust and skilled aviation workforce.

GAO recommended that FAA coordinate with other Federal agencies – while also using its existing data – to identify and gather information that will assist FAA in measuring progress and target resources toward its workforce goals of promoting a robust, qualified, and diverse maintenance workforce. FAA agreed with this recommendation.

Jordan Smith
About Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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