At AAR, we collaborate as a team, we encourage diverse perspectives, and we work to partner with those making a difference. We support talent and diversity of the aviation maintenance workforce, and our investment in our communities via education through our STEM and EAGLE Career Pathway Program is launching the careers of many aspiring young individuals in the aviation industry. Doing it Right® means treating people fairly and respectfully.
Diversity and inclusion
As reflected in our values, we have a long-standing commitment to embracing diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion.
AAR’s Public Diversity Statement:
Just as unique parts are essential to an aircraft’s ability to fly, unique talent is essential to AAR’s ability to succeed. Our strength is rooted in our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We create opportunity through new thoughts and ideas to embrace an ever-changing world. These values empower our people to be a team of producers, innovators and world class leaders, who are “Doing it right” to better connect the world.
Commitment to inclusion
At AAR, facilitating an inclusive culture means everyone feels welcome and appreciated. In 2015, a women-focused Employee Resource Group (ERG) was formed, dedicated to elevating the careers of women at AAR. The group, now called AAR Ascend, provides opportunities for members to expand their professional networks, gain leadership skills, and develop skills to advance professionally. In 2021, we formed the VRG, our veteran-focused ERG for employees coming from the military community. Members include veterans, employees with military connections, those serving in the Guard/Reserve, and those who support veterans. The primary goals of the VRG are to foster the continued growth of a military/veteran-friendly environment at AAR, and enhance recruitment, training and retention of veterans. VRG conducts special events, activities, training and seminars.
Each of these ERGs are supported by an executive sponsor, create a sense of belonging, contribute to retention, offer mentorship opportunities, and sponsor events. We are launching additional ERGs to support our Black/African American, Latinx, Asian and LGBTQ+ employees, to provide growth and development for our employee population and attract a diverse workforce.
Diversity and inclusion education
In 2021, we also rolled out additional diversity and inclusion education. AAR has engaged an outside expert to conduct more than 40 leadership sessions and 150 workshops for employees from May to October 2021.
"AAR's Veterans Resource Group (VRG) is a community committed to a shared, common purpose: creating unique opportunities while providing support for our Veteran employees. Not only is it a safe space for our vets to share stories and experiences, it's also a place where everyone can learn and grow together."
Manager, Strategic Supplier Management
“Ascend, AAR’s Women’s Business Resource Group, has been a tremendous resource in terms of networking and professional development. Open to all employees, it provides an additional space to work with inspirational women who are committed to the empowerment, professional, and personal growth of one another.”
Senior Manager, Contracts – Government Program Management - Government
Focus on diverse hiring
AAR is an equal opportunity employer and recognizes the value of a diverse workforce. Although we are proud of our workforce diversity, we acknowledge that we still have work to do. We are continually seeking out new ways to broaden our exposure to underrepresented groups in the aviation industry and to develop a diverse talent pipeline.
In August 2020, we partnered with the nonprofit Corporation for Skilled Workforce (CSW) to diversify the talent pool of aviation maintenance technicians (AMT) through a program funded by a Lumina Foundation grant. As part of this collaboration, AAR and CSW engage community colleges and technical training providers in various locations to develop competency-based programs, curricula and stackable credentials that meet FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) requirements.
We are also focusing on building partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create a talent pipeline for future employment. In particular, we established a relationship with the North Carolina A&T State University to help students become better at their professional job search by reviewing resumes, providing LinkedIn workshops, and conducting mock interview challenges.
In March 2021, we hired our first all-female cohort of aircraft maintenance technicians that were first mentored and developed through our partnership with CSW. Half of the cohort were hired from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, one of our EAGLE Career Pathway Program partners, and the other half from traditional workforce recruiting channels.
We continually seek out ways to engage employees, recognize achievements and cultivate a sense of team. We also periodically conduct engagement surveys to seek feedback on how to make AAR a better place to work.
Our CEO regularly hosts company-wide “town hall” meetings to answer questions directly from employees, which can be submitted anonymously. We also hold quarterly “Coffee with the Leaders” opportunities for employees at all levels to engage with senior leaders.
Business leaders can nominate employees who have gone above and beyond for our customers, or come up with a new way of doing things, for our annual Employee Recognition Award called Doing It Right®. Five finalists are invited to attend the special town hall meeting where they meet with the CEO, and share their stories and receive a monetary reward. The grand winner also receives a travel gift certificate.
Through our “Ideas Matter” program, we encourage employees to submit their ideas for improving AAR. We reward revenue-generating and cost saving submissions that we implement.
Giving back to the community is a critical part of AAR’s culture. We support nonprofits and organizations that work to improve society, with an emphasis on veterans’ programs and education for high school and college students. Our support also includes charitable donations, event sponsorship and volunteering. Although the pandemic has slowed our giving rate and the number of events we have participated in this past year, we remain committed to our communities and look forward to ongoing collaboration.
View the ESG Report for more details
Active military and veteran programs
AAR’s success in supporting the U.S. Military and allied countries is in large part due to the valuable skills of our dedicated employee base of military veterans. Veterans make up 22 percent of our U.S. workforce and are a key focus in our local recruitment efforts. As a proud military-friendly employer, we recruit veterans through various military and academic partners, including:
• Air Force Academy High School
• Chicago Veteran Summit
• Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s SkillBridge Program for transitioning military
(part of our EAGLE Career Pathway Program)
• Naval Station Great Lakes
• University of Chicago Veterans
• Veteran Career Summit
• Women in the Air Force
STEM and aviation-focused education
As a pioneering aviation company, we have a responsibility to think ahead and see the big picture. A Boeing study estimated that 192,000 new aircraft technicians in North America and 739,000 new aircraft technicians worldwide will be needed through 2039, and we are determined to help fill the gaps with our workforce development strategy involving two successful programs, STEM education with partner schools and the EAGLE Pathway Program.
Both programs are geared towards inspiring young minds and creating pathways to successful careers in aviation. In essence, we are preparing the young generation to take up the mantle when they are ready to spread their wings.
Visit our EAGLE page for more details
To instill a deep interest for aerospace in young people and create a talent pipeline for the aviation industry, we collaborate with elementary, middle and high schools and organizations to demonstrate the relevance of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and introduce them to career pathways in aerospace in a fun and engaging way. In the cities where we operate, we encourage students to learn about the aviation industry firsthand by regularly opening our doors to students for tours and mentorship programs. Our “Taking Flight” national education initiative introduces young students to exciting careers in aviation. The successful program includes participation in career days, field trips and paid internships at AAR locations across the country, including Miami, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Chicago. We also promote aviation as a viable vocation in underserved areas.