‘Keep ‘Em Flying’; STEM symposium hopes to spark interest to help major shortage in aviation industry

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DENVER-- Industry experts say there is an acute shortage of qualified personnel in the aviation industry, which could lead to flight disruptions on a massive scale.

That’s why the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is conducting an aviation STEM symposium, to hopefully spark an interest in high school teachers and administrators to include aviation in their curriculum.

“Keep ‘em flying”, that was a slogan used during World War II to inspire pilot in the Army air Corps.  It’s a slogan that could be used right now to inspire young men and women into the aviation industry because, well, Houston, we’ve got a problem.

“We have a workforce needs issue in a big way," says Katie Pribyl, AOPA Senior Advisor.

According to the AOPA there are over 10,000 pilot positions that need to be filled by United Airlines alone.  That’s just one airline.  If these vacancies are not filled, then long lines, cancellations and delays will be the norm.

"We are going to have delays at airports, airplanes are going to take delays, maybe they can’t get fixed fast enough," shared Warns Pribyl.

At the United Airlines training facility in Denver, high school teachers are being taught to teach aviation to their students.

“The AOPA has created curriculum, aviation curriculum, that’s totally free to high schools." Pribyl shared.

350 attendees from across the country are hopefully being persuaded to incorporate aviation in their respective schools.

“We need mechanics, we need air traffic controllers, we need engineers, we need dispatchers. You name it, there are jobs for young people in aviation."

Learning to fix, fly and maintain aircraft is not the biggest barrier, it’s getting young people interested in the first place.

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