By: Jay Gregson, Hallmark University Provost & ATEC Legislative Committee Chairman
Preparation for the Washington Fly-in gives the aviation maintenance education community the opportunity to reassess its legislative priorities to ensure they are in line with industry goals and objectives. We are in the midst of that evaluation and have found a clear focus for this year’s event—industry needs a new part 147, and we needed it yesterday. That is the message ATEC members will sound when we storm Capitol Hill next month.
Grassroots efforts to ensure the agency has the resources, support and political backing to get out a new rule are already in motion. A few months back, Hallmark University hosted Texas representative Lamar Smith (TX-21) at our facility (that's us in the picture, above), giving him a tour and highlighting limits imposed by the current part 147. During our visit, Rep. Smith agreed to help and this week sent a letter inquiring on the status of the rulemaking efforts. Our friends at Southern Utah University are also expending political capital, making similar requests of leaders in the Senate, and creating opportunities for ATEC to share industry’s story through congressional publications and editorials. These initiatives are follow-on to similar legislative efforts made in 2016 (see previous story), and illustrate our community’s perseverance and refusal to take nonaction for an answer.
ATEC is not pushing for a rule without providing recommendations and support for its development. In the 22 months since the part 147 notice of proposed rulemaking was issued, the council has provided comments and supplemental comments, facilitated industry and coalition support for those comments, held a formal roundtable, gathered FAA-requested economic data, provided more supplemental comments, and took part in a formal Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee working group recommendation to align part 147 with imminent airman testing standards (more on that when the recommendation is officially submitted this fall). Our efforts have been tireless, and while we understand there are government agency resource and priority challenges, our main objective at the upcoming Fly-in will be to sound the message: industry can’t afford to wait any longer.
While part 147 is in the spotlight, it’s certainly not the only issue we’ll highlight at the Fly-in. Federal funding for career technical education, support for educator-employer partnership and apprenticeships, and ensuring government data compliments, instead of hinders, industry workforce development efforts are all on the list. And while ATEC will drive the dialogue for our common interests, members will bring their own, individualized, priorities to the table. Be it local government funding, infrastructure needs, or other federally-funded projects, each attendee brings a different perspective for congressional leaders to consider. The Fly-in also presents an incredible opportunity for institutions and companies to introduce themselves to congressional leaders, and educate congress on the impact aviation maintenance technician education has on the local community and economy.
If you missed the overview we provided in a live broadcast, a recorded version is available in the ATEC webinar library. The agenda is jam packed, we hope you will take advantage of all the resource investments we’ve made to ensure it is a worthwhile event, not only for the aviation maintenance education community, but for the entire aviation industry, and our future workforce.
I look forward to seeing you in Washington.
Please note: The special group hotel room rate expires Aug. 9. Book online here.