DOL-led Taskforce Releases Aerospace Workforce Report

The Interagency Aerospace Revitalization Taskforce, led by the U.S. Department of Labor, recently released the first of five annual reports to Congress. The report offers strategies for meeting the aerospace industry's growing talent demands in an environment where young people are neither prepared nor inclined to enter it.

"America's world-leading aerospace industry is as vital today to our nation's security and prosperity as it was half a century ago when it was building the first satellites and rockets that launched us into the Space Age," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This report outlines several strategies for increasing the pool of workers qualified for high skill aerospace careers and makes it clear that this will require a coordinated and sustained effort by the private and public sectors."

Following a legislative request of a year ago, the taskforce spent 2007 reviewing the challenges associated with aerospace workforce development and has recommended next steps for meeting the industry's talent needs. Among the report's findings, the taskforce recognizes that establishing clear lines of communication with all parties is a critical step in building the aerospace talent pipeline. It plans to create a cyber community designed to allow users to share information on promising practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and training; outreach to and mentoring of students and prospective hires; and industry recruiting successes.

The report recommends streamlining the security clearance process and increasing the portability of such clearances from one job and agency to the next. A coordinated industry investment strategy is also recommended to replicate model STEM education practices and to support apprenticeship models and the entry of transitioning adults into the industry.

In addition to broad participation from the aerospace industry and educators, the taskforce includes representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Science Foundation; the President's Council of Economic Advisors; and the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

To view the full report or for more information, visit www.doleta.gov.

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