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bISEC Member highlight: aerospace Industries association by Susan lavrakas


he AerOSPACe INDUSTrIeS Association (AIA) is a charter member of the Business and Industry STeM education Coalition (BISeC) and was a driving force behind its formation. Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, AIA is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology. with a roster of more than 340 companies, AIA’s membership includes the highly recognizable major aerospace firms plus hundreds of smaller suppliers. The U.S. aerospace and defense industry directly employs about a million people, generates some $320 billion in sales revenues, constitutes 2.23% of the nation’s GDP and is the country’s largest net exporter. The industry is uniquely affected by waning interest and declining performance in math and science among American students because many of our jobs require U.S. citizens who can qualify for security clearances. Since this work cannot be outsourced or given to foreign nationals living here, the very existence of the industry depends on inspiring, preparing, and attracting the country’s youth to join our companies. recogniz-

ing the critical importance, leaders of aerospace corporations have declared their own commitment and encouraged AIA to help solve the STeM workforce shortfall.

rent workforce and projections of future requirements, including specific capabilities and skills in demand. 3) About two dozen of our largest corporations are working together to

The winning team from Madison West high School in Madison, WI, pose at the10th annual Team america rocketry Challenge national finals May 12, 2012. © aerospace Industries association

AIA’s STeM workforce efforts involve four major thrusts: 1) The largest model rocket contest in the world, the Team America rocketry Challenge is AIA’s signature STeM program. TArC, which just completed its tenth season, has already engaged more than 60,000 middle and high school students in an exciting competition that motivates study of STeM subjects and whets interest in the kinds of careers the industry has to offer. 2) AIA conducts an annual workforce survey, in partnership with Aviation week & Space Technology, to develop an increasingly accurate and useful characterization of the industry’s cur-

identify, assess, and consider reallocation of their financial investments and volunteer efforts in STeM education and workforce preparation to achieve greater impact. 4) Through AIA’s leading involvement in BISeC, member companies are exploring opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders - at the national, state, and local levels – for improved results in STeM workforce preparation. n

Susan Lavrakas is Director, Workforce, at the Aerospace Industries Association. For more information contact:

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