HARRISBURG - The aviation sector is a fast-growing opportunity for skilled workers, as job demand far outpaces the available supply of trained employees. According to Eastern Iowa Airport Director Marty Lenss, by 2026 the U.S. is on pace to be short by 15,000 pilots compared to industry demand, which would leave 1,500 aircraft inoperable. Boeing’s technician forecast also predicts North America will need 187,000 new aviation maintenance technicians by 2037, or about 10,500 new entrants per year. Yet a recent survey by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association found the most common staffing challenge for maintenance and repair organizations is “difficulty finding and retaining technical talent.” This makes promoting aviation-related careers a priority at the middle and high school level, to boost interest and sustain the sector’s critical demand for talent.
To that end, the Harrisburg International Airport was proud to recently help organize the first-ever Aviation Career Day held at Harrisburg International Airport. Regional educators were invited to learn about the wide variety of career opportunities available in the aviation sector. Attendees included principals, teachers, and guidance counselors. They were able to tour five different airport facilities and learn about specific career paths, shadowing for high school students, internships, and part-time and full-time employment opportunities, along with learning what post-secondary education is necessary for these careers.
Piedmont Airlines and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics worked with airport staff to schedule the half-day of tours and presentations, which included regional aviation employers UPS, Avflight‐FBO, Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA), and the 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The event was sponsored by the Capital Region Partnership for Career Development, as part of a local roundtable of career days that each focus on different job sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, business & accounting, and skilled trades.