The FAA has committed $5 million to its new Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program. The program is designed to expand the pilot workforce and help high school students receive training to become pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators. The program also prepares teachers to train students for jobs in the aviation industry.
The unveiling of this program follows the unveiling of a similar program for aviation maintenance technicians.
In Fiscal Year 2020, Congress appropriated $5 million to create and deliver a training curriculum to address the projected shortage of aircraft pilots. Eligible groups can apply for grants from $25,000 to $500,000.
The types of projects supported under the Aircraft Pilots workforce development grants include:
- Create and deliver a curriculum designed to provide high school students with a meaningful aviation education designed to prepare them to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators. Eligibility for this grant project includes the delivery of an existing training curriculum.
- Support the professional development of teachers using the above curriculum.
Congress also directed the FAA to ensure that the applications selected for projects established under this program allow for participation from a diverse collection of public and private schools in rural, suburban, and urban areas.
Entities eligible to apply for the grants include:
- Air carriers (as defined in 49 USC 40102) or labor organizations representing aircraft pilots
- Flight schools that provide flight training (14 CFR part 61) or hold a pilot school certificate (14 CFR part 141)
- Accredited higher education institutions (20 U.S.C. 1001), or secondary schools or high schools (20 U.S.C. 7801)
- State or local governmental entities
- Organizations representing aircraft users, aircraft owners, or aircraft pilots
FAA officials note the agency does not have authority to award grants beyond the stated purpose, or to provide scholarships or any form of financial assistance directly to individual applicants, although the selected entities may offer scholarship opportunities as a funded activity. Those interested in direct scholarship opportunities are encouraged to visit the FAA Grants and Scholarships page.
The FAA will accept public comments on the Federal Register Notice announcement of the new program until Sept. 24, 2020.
For the first time in 34 years of flying for a living, I got to see a bona fide pilot shortage- i.e. where companies were paying pilots for training rather than the other way around.
It didn’t last long, sadly.
“The program also prepares teachers to train students for jobs in the aviation industry. … Congress appropriated $5 million to create and deliver a training curriculum to address the projected shortage of aircraft pilots.”
With tens of thousands of furloughed/terminated pilots, Congress may need to re-evaluate their timeline for a ‘projected shortage’ in the aviation industry.