Collaboration Key to the Future AMT Workforce

Sept. 14, 2016
Industry, academia, and FAA need to collaborate now in order to meet the demands for new maintenance technicians.

For years, aviation maintenance schools have been saying ‘we need to hear from industry and need their support’. At the same time, the aviation and aerospace industries have been begging schools to teach skills that are more aligned with their business model. This dilemma has sat in limbo for many years; partly, because aviation schools have been required to teach an antiquated curriculum. And, partly because everyone was comfortable with the workforce predictions and hiring cycles. Additionally, schools have been producing just enough technicians to keep up with industry demands. 

Fast-forward to 2016 and that workforce planning comfort level has quickly disappeared. Several ardent aviation personnel have decided to take this to the next step and get things moving in the right direction. Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, and United Airlines are leading the way to collaboration and have started working closely with Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) to enhance the training for aviation maintenance technicians (AMT).

ATEC is composed of administrators and educators in Part 147 schools who are eager to align AMT training with industry needs. Additionally, the two groups are cognizant of the importance of re-igniting the interest in young people to entertain this as a career option and getting updated equipment into the maintenance schools across the U.S. Bottom line, looming retirements and other industries pilfering the future workforce, are some of the critical issues driving this immediate need to collaborate. The ATEC group is also working closely with the FAA to update the outdated 1970’s curriculum. 

“From the industry perspective, the more familiar the AMTS graduates are with the function and repair of air carrier aircraft, the more effective they will be once they enter the airline workforce. I think ATEC is an extremely important voice to influence the needed changes in AMTS curriculum in order to effectively familiarize AMTS students with current technology,” says Mike Mackey, Manager, Delta TechOps Training.

It takes key individuals who are passionate enough to ‘add just one more thing to their plate’ to get this moving in the right direction. We don’t have time to waste; we need to immediately get industry, government, and education all pulling in the same direction before we run out of A&P technician graduates to fill the future workforce needs. If you'd like to get involved visit

Amy Kienast, holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification, and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) Certification. Aviation industry positions have included Airline Technical Recruiter, Airline Corporate Recruiting Manager, National Director of Business Relations, and currently is in the role of Director of Career Services at MIAT College of Technology where her main focus is providing career opportunities for the graduates. She is also a board member for Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC). Amy can be reached at [email protected].