Business, cities, states and colleges partner to grow the aviation talent pipeline

January 31, 2019

New report sheds light on workforce shortage, offers solutions

WOOD DALE, Illinois, January 31, 2019– A new report by global aviation services provider AAR (NYSE: AIR) examines the significant opportunities for the industry to grow its pool of aircraft maintenance workers and track progress through public-private partnerships, targeted recruitment and career pathways that are designed using stackable credentials toward advancement.

In “EAGLE Pathways: Bridging the Middle-Skills Gap to Careers in Aviation,” AAR talks about the reasons behind aviation’s talent gap for aircraft maintenance technicians and repair personnel. Among the report’s conclusions: Recruiting should focus on the estimated 6.5 million discouraged or underemployed American workers, military veterans, and historically underrepresented groups like women, African Americans, and Latinos. Another target is students who favor a less expensive two-year degree or industry skills certifications as a pathway to a good job over the high tuition and crushing debt of a four-year degree.

The report cites industry research that estimates demand for 189,000 new AMTs in North America through 2037. The number of AMTs nearing retirement is 30% while new hires represent just 2%.

AAR has been working across the country to build partnerships with cities, states and schools to grow the pipeline. Today, AAR President and CEO John Holmes is in Indianapolis to discuss growing the aviation workforce with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and local and state officials under the state’s new Next Level Jobs initiative, which includes employer training grants of up to $50,000.

“We’re seeing firsthand today the ways Next Level Jobs is working for Indiana employers,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The feedback we’ve received from businesses has been overwhelmingly positive and useful. They’re helping us identify ways the Next Level Jobs initiative can be stronger and put more Hoosiers to work in better paying jobs faster.”

Also Thursday, Holmes announced along with Vincennes University President Charles Johnson an expansion of their training partnership under AAR’s new EAGLE Career Pathway program. Students will be able to earn stackable credentials that lead to several careers at AAR. They’ll experience job shadowing and mentoring and get academic support. Those who pursue their FAA aircraft mechanics certificate are eligible for up to $15,000 in tuition reimbursements from AAR. Since October, AAR has introduced the EAGLE program at colleges in Kalamazoo, Mich., Chicago, Rockford, Ill., and Duluth, Minn. 

“One of our top priorities is to increase training and job prospects not just for AAR but across the aviation industry,” Holmes said. “We believe more people will choose aviation if they are aware of the training opportunities and the favorable job prospects in this exciting industry.”

In other promising developments, the report cites the industry’s success at lobbying for updates to FAA training protocols and bipartisan support, led by Sen. Jim Inhofe, for provisions aimed at growing the aviation workforce included in the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed by Congress in October.

“The aviation maintenance industry offers high-paying jobs all across the nation to workers with the right skills,” said Sen. Inhofe, who is a pilot with over 11,000 flight hours. “The programs I authored in the FAA Reauthorization last year will help develop innovative ways to recruit and educate the next generation of America’s aviation workforce. I appreciate efforts by all stakeholders to invest in their workforce and look forward to AAR expanding these efforts to other cities where they maintain a strong presence.”




About AAR

AAR is a global aftermarket solutions company that employs more than 6,000 people in over 20 countries. Based in Wood Dale, Illinois, AAR supports commercial aviation and government customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Expeditionary Services. AAR’s Aviation Services include inventory management; parts supply; OEM parts distribution; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; engineering services and component repair. AAR’s Expeditionary Services include airlift operations; mobility systems; and command and control centers in support of military and humanitarian missions. More information can be found at

Media contact: Daniela Pietsch, Vice President Corporate Marketing & Communications, at or +1 630-227-5100. 

This press release contains certain statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on beliefs of Company management, as well as assumptions and estimates based on information currently available to the Company, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated, including those factors discussed under Item 1A, entitled “Risk Factors”, included in the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize adversely, or should underlying assumptions or estimates prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described. These events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond the Company’s control. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. For additional information, see the comments included in AAR’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.