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Aerospace Industry Faces Shortage of Workers, CTE Offers Solution

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2009 Survey of Aerospace Student At­titudes found that the aerospace industry has not fully recovered from jobs losses of the 1990s and is still facing a shortage of workers. Employment in the industry fell by over 600,000 jobs between 1989 and 2007, and approximately 26 percent of workers were eligible to retire by 2008.

However, degrees awarded for a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate in aerospace engineering have been increasing since 2000. The study also found that 92 per­cent of the students became interested in aerospace during the K-12 years.  CTE provides a great opportunity for students with an interest in the aerospace industry to explore this further in relevant and hands-on courses.

In related news, Representative Suzanne Kosmas of Florida introduced H.R. 5093, the Space to Schools Act which would provide incentives to retiring or displaced NASA employees with STEM backgrounds to pursue careers as elementary, secondary, or K-12 career technical education (though the bill uses the word “vocation”) teachers. This bill would provide eligible participants with a stipend of up to a $5,000 to be used towards obtaining licensing or certification for teaching. Participants who commit to working in a high need school for at least three years will be eligible for a $5,000 bonus. Having former NASA professionals in the classroom would be a great boon to CTE students who wish to pursue careers in the aerospace industry.

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