New Workplace Learning Standards to Help Attract and Retain Aerospace and Defense Talent
October 2, 2018
Arlington, Va. — Today, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is announcing new Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) standards, which set common criteria for work-based learning programs ranging from internships to leadership training. AIA is leading the way in creating portable, industry-recognized certifications with these standards, which were developed in response to the Administration’s Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeships in America. The certification programs will serve as a more affordable pathway to good-paying jobs for prospective and current employees.
“If we aren’t tapping all the available talent in America, we cannot expect to remain the world’s leader in aerospace and defense,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “With this program, we are making it easier for people of all backgrounds to join our industry and creating new opportunities for current employees. Our workforce is our industry’s single strongest asset and these programs will enhance our ability to meet the challenges of the future.”
The IRAP standards come at a critical time for the A&D industry. The recently released 2018 Aviation Week Workforce Study Report shows the industry needs to expand its workforce and must do more to increase diversity. While women lead several of the industry’s largest companies, they make up less than one-quarter of the workforce overall. Furthermore, African-Americans account for only seven percent of the workforce while Hispanic Americans account for eight percent. AIA’s IRAP standards will help to grow and diversify the aerospace and defense talent pipeline while also retaining current members of the industry’s workforce.
According to the Aviation Week study, 59% of the aerospace and defense workforce completed on-the-job training such as reskilling coursework in 2017. By providing a set of industry-approved requirements for work-based learning activities, the AIA IRAP standards will ensure that those employees, as well as prospective employees participating in internship or apprenticeship programs, get credit for their work while also making it easier for hiring officials to understand and value a prospective or current employee’s experience and training. The standards announced today are:
- Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program Overview
- Internship Program
- Cooperative Education Program
- New College Hire Rotational Program
- Traditional (Technology-Based or Manufacturing) Apprentice Program
- Management Leadership Training Program
The program will give each candidate the opportunity to build skills and competencies in their specific area of focus or study, which could include design or materials engineering, testing and evaluation, accounting, finance, or marketing, among others.
After completing the program requirements, candidates will receive a certificate that hiring officials will recognize across the industry. For graduates of the Internship, Cooperative Education, New College Hire Rotational, and Traditional Apprenticeship programs, this certificate could help them get an entry-level position in the industry. Those who complete the Management Leadership Training Program, meanwhile, will be one step closer to making the transition from technician to supervisor.
Following today’s announcement, AIA will work with member companies and academic institutions to optimize and ultimately implement the IRAP standards in the next year. For more information, please visit: https://www.aia-aerospace.org/industry-recognized-apprenticeship-program-irap-standards/.
AIA has been developing and publishing National Aerospace Standards (NAS) standards since 1941. The NAS standards collection is one of the largest sets of industry voluntary consensus-based standards in the U.S.