Continuing its campaign to address workforce shortage issues, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) recently participated in a roundtable that focused on ways to build on the success of the Utah Rotor Pathway Program and other means to help bolster interest in aviation careers. Organized by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), the Aviation Workforce Development Roundtable recently held in Salt Lake City brought together helicopter operators, educators, and government stakeholders.
HAI created the Rotor Pathway Program to introduce the rotary-wing sector to students as a possible career. Utah was the first to establish the program, HAI said, adding that it has since met with officials in other states to help set up similar programs.
“Helping to find, or establish, federal resources for pathway programs would open doors for similar partnerships across the country,” the association said. “It helps the rotorcraft industry reach the next generation of pilots and maintenance technicians while still in high school.”
Under the program, students receive pilot and maintenance training, earn college credits, and are offered mentoring, internships, and job interviews. Some 32 high schools in the state participate and the number of industry partners continues to expand.
In addition, the roundtable looked at other ways to attract new workers to the sector and available government resources to support such efforts.
“Utahns have a bright future because we come to the table prepared to tackle our unique challenges,” said Owens. “I enjoyed sitting down with statewide aviation experts to address the workforce shortages affecting this critical industry and ways we can continue to benefit from successful resources like the Utah Rotor Pathway Program, Choose Aerospace, Women in Aviation International, and the FAA Reauthorization.”