The aerospace and defense industry employs 2.4 million highly trained technical and manufacturing personnel, earning 81% above the national average. Building an innovative 21st century workforce is essential to our global competitiveness and to build that workforce it is essential we enlist all of America’s talent.


Today, at a White House ceremony, AIA Chair and Raytheon Company Chairman and CEO Dr. Thomas A. Kennedy; Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn A. Hewson; Northrop Grumman President and Chief Operating Officer Kathy Warden; and The Boeing Company signed “The Pledge to the American Worker” and announced company contributions totaling 154,000 opportunities. These opportunities include internships, new college hire rotation program participants, cooperative education programs, continuing education, on-the-job training, re-skilling, leadership training and traditional apprenticeships that can help employees translate entry-level jobs into lifelong careers.


“The foundation of all we do in the aerospace and defense industry is our people. For generations they have continually pushed the technology envelope of what is possible, leading to remarkable innovations in civil aviation, space and defense,” Kennedy said. “However, continuing America’s leadership in these domains is not preordained. We are facing unprecedented workforce changes, and today’s pledge is a strong step in developing a dynamic, diverse and engaged 21st century workforce to fill the jobs of the future that will fuel the American economy.”


AIA Chief Operating Officer Robert Durbin also signed the pledge, and announced that in addition to the firms mentioned above, other companies in the aerospace and defense industry will support an additional 48,000 enhanced career opportunities, for an industry total of 202,000 over the next five years. We expect this number to grow as we continue to work with other members who are still refining their commitments.


Today’s pledge includes commitments from the following companies:


·         Acutronic

·         Aerospace Corporation

·         Allied Telesis

·         Arconic, Inc.

·         BAE Systems

·         Burns & McDonnell

·         Click Bond

·         Cubic Corporation

·         Garmin International

·         General Dynamics Corp.

·         General Electric – Aviation

·         Harris Corporation

·         Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

·         L3 Technologies, Inc.

·         Leidos Holdings, Inc.

·         Lord Corporation

·         Rockwell Collins, Inc.

·         Southern Manufacturing Technologies

·         Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc.

·         TECT Power

·         Textron Inc.

·         United Technologies Corporation

·         Verify


“The single most important thing the aerospace and defense industry can do to remain a global leader is double down on our efforts to build a diverse 21st century workforce that taps the best talent in communities across the country,” said AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning. “Creating more work-based learning opportunities and pursuing industry-recognized apprenticeships are just two of the things we’re doing, with much more to come.”


The Pledge was developed by the White House to encourage companies, industry associations, foundations and other groups to provide concrete and substantial education, training and re-skilling opportunities for America’s current and future workers, and ultimately providing them with greater job opportunities and economic security.


In addition to today’s pledge, AIA is working to develop standards that would allow the aerospace and defense industry to issue nationally-portable, Industry Recognized Apprenticeship credentials as recommended by the Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Developing industry-recognized credentials will ensure a common understanding of the skills being achieved and allow employees to move more easily among companies in our industry.


The process of developing these standards has already begun and we expect to release these standards this Fall.