Arlington, Va. – Aerospace supporters across the country should join with industry to advocate for STEM education, air transportation system modernization, space exploration and export control system improvements, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said Monday.

Speaking during an Aerospace States Association hearing on Capitol Hill, Blakey pointed out that the aerospace industry has a huge positive impact on the U.S. economy.

“In these tough economic times, it is important that we continue to remind lawmakers and others how important our industry is – providing the greatest good to the greatest number,” Blakey said.

ASA is an aerospace advocacy organization made up of lieutenant governors from states that host industry manufacturers or are otherwise engaged. The hearing brought many lieutenant governors together with various representatives of industry and federal government agencies to discuss aerospace priorities.

Among her recommendations for maintaining industry prosperity, Blakey stressed the importance of encouraging STEM education to ensure a continued strong and highly skilled workforce. The industry faces a workforce challenge as many employees are approaching retirement eligibility.

Blakey also promoted further funding for NASA space programs and improving the current export control system, which she said are crucial steps in modernizing and strengthening the aerospace industry. She underscored the significance of accelerating implementation of the NextGen air transportation modernization effort to maximize flight safety and efficiency.

“(NextGen) will make the entire travel experience faster and more efficient by significantly reducing delays.” Blakey said. “It will also create jobs in the ongoing development and implementation phases. And it provides dramatic benefits on the environmental front – one of the most important challenges before civil aviation today.”