JENKS, OK – An informal coalition, previously facilitated through the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), has officially incorporated and will provide a new vehicle to pursue aviation workforce development initiatives. Choose Aerospace, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting aerospace technical careers. It is a partnership of stakeholders within professional aviation and aerospace industries, joined together to address one of the biggest threats to continued industry growth: the availability of a diverse, qualified technical workforce.
Choose Aerospace’s creation was funded by stakeholder contributions and ATEC member dues. With operational support from ATEC, the organization will unite companies, associations, labor unions, and educational institutions to spur interest in aerospace careers and implement solutions to workforce development challenges. The following individuals will serve on the initial board of directors—
· President: Ryan Goertzen, Vice President of Workforce Development at AAR Corp
· Vice President: Kevin Dallaire, Recruiting Manager at Piedmont Airlines
· Secretary/Treasurer: Joel English, Executive Vice President at Aviation Institute of Maintenance
“We as a community have been pursuing career awareness and workforce development initiatives for some time; we would not be here today if it wasn’t for the early financial support from several aviation organizations, who believed in what we were trying to do,” said Goertzen. “This new 501(c)(3) will give us access to tools and opportunities not previously available to help us meet strategic objectives.”
While the organization’s initial objective was to develop a national career awareness campaign, given the coronavirus-related impacts on technical education, the board has decided to prioritize a second objective: to make aerospace career and technical training a priority in secondary schools.
“School closures have created a real need for computer-based learning options,” said Goertzen. “We think that creates an opportunity to develop standardized aviation technical curriculum that can be used by part 147 schools and secondary education.”
To that end, the organization is identifying potential partners to support project development. Today, it released a request for proposal to develop high-tech and relevant resources for aviation technical programs.