US Congress is considering a bill to establish a national taskforce to develop aerospace training and recruitment programmes.

Designed to combat a projected shortage of qualified aerospace workers, the proposed interagency aerospace revitalisation taskforce will try to maximise co-operation between government agencies and departments to help fulfil demand for skilled workers.

It will develop national policies to promote public and private sector programmes for science and engineering education and training and form partnerships with industry, educational and local government bodies to disseminate information on occupational requirements and employment, as well as co-ordinate agency resources, such as grants, loans and scholarships.

Total employment in the US aerospace manufacturing workforce is at its lowest point in 50 years and 27% of that workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2008. US students rank near the bottom of the leading industrialised countries in mathematics and science test performances.

"As a nation and an industry we simply cannot ignore the looming crisis in our workforce," says John Douglass, president and chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, which supports the bill. "It is imperative that Congress move decisively to support private sector efforts to train future generations of aerospace workers."

Source: Flight International