U.S. Department of Labor Approves AEA's Avionics Technician Apprenticeship Program


The United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship recently approved the avionics technician apprenticeship program that was created by the Aircraft Electronics Association and submitted through its partnership with the Urban Institute. The apprenticeship program offers a competency-based occupational framework that meets industry standards.

According to the Department of Labor's bulletin, "This CBOF (competency-based occupational framework) has met industry standards and approval; it covers job titles and occupational pathways, related functions and performance criteria, as well as academic, workplace and personal competencies for job success. While use of CBOFs in developing standards utilizing the competency-based training approach is voluntary, no additional vetting of a Work Process Schedule utilizing the CBOF should be required where a program aligns to the occupational framework described in a CBOF, beyond the basic requirements set forth in 29 CFR Part 29."

The AEA's team of member repair stations and manufacturer representatives worked with the Urban Institute to develop the avionics technician apprenticeship program that now merits a national credential from the Department of Labor. Founded in 1968, the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that collaborates with stakeholders to craft relevant solutions and strategies in order to address future obstacles.

The AEA's development of the apprenticeship program follows the Federal Aviation Administration's announcement in January 2019 that formally recognized the Aircraft Electronics Technician certification from ASTM's National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies as equivalent to formal training when showing eligibility for the issuance of a repairman certificate. The Department of Labor's approval is another significant accomplishment in the association's ongoing workforce development efforts that has continued over the last two decades.

"The avionics technician apprenticeship program offers a new career pathway where individuals can simultaneously earn a competitive wage, gain knowledge with structured learning and on-the-job training, and achieve industry-recognized credentials," said Mike Adamson, AEA president and chief executive officer. "It is no secret that the avionics industry must address the challenges posed by a tightened labor market and competition from other industries. Developing a nationally registered apprenticeship program was the next logical step to help cultivate the next generation of avionics professionals. Now that the apprenticeship program has been approved by the Department of Labor, AEA member repair stations have another tool to grow their own and successfully recruit, train and retain high-quality technicians. It is another critical step in our industry's ongoing workforce development efforts."

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