Museum to host US Senate Committee

On Monday, Oct. 24, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee, will hold a U.S. Senate field hearing at Seattle’s Museum of Flight titled, “The Aviation Workforce: Training Needs and Challenges.”

The hearing is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater, and is open to the public.

The Aviation Subcommittee’s hearing will examine local and federal efforts to foster the development of a 21st century aviation workforce to meet the needs of a rapidly growing aerospace industry. The aerospace industry in Washington state currently employs 83,700 people, representing more than one-sixth of all aerospace workers in the nation. In 2010, Washington state exported over $23.3 billion in aerospace products — 30% of all U.S. aerospace exports.

A concern for the aviation industry and government leaders is making sure there are enough skilled workers to fill aviation-related jobs, officials note.

Key issues to be addressed at the hearing include:

  • Employer and worker needs;
  • Efforts to develop and expand educational programs that support aviation and aerospace training;
  • Workforce initiatives that establish, prepare and grow a pipeline of students who are career-ready for scientific, technical, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities;
  • Life-long learning strategies;
  • Government efforts to partner with industry to foster innovation and collaboration.


Panel I

  • Tom McCarty, President, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 2001
  • Mark Seiber, Plant Manager, GE Aviation, Yakima, Wash.
  • Randall Julin, General Manager, Absolute Aviation Service, Spokane, Wash.
  • Jim Bearden, Administrative Assistant, Aerospace Machinists Industrial – District Lodge 751, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

Panel II

  •  James Hermanson, Chair, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Washington
  • Michael Greenwood, Senior Manager, Aerospace Academic Alignment Team, The Boeing Company
  • Laura Hopkins, Executive Director, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee
  • Cyndi Schaeffer, Executive Director, Edmonds Community College Business and Training Center
  • Joe Dunlap, President, Spokane Community College
  • Reba Gilman, Principal and Chief Executive Office, Aviation High School, Des Moines, Wash.

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