WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal funding supported by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to expand flight-training services for veterans to become commercial airline pilots passed the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully secured $1 million in federal funding in the Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to increase opportunities for veterans seeking careers as airline pilots. The Appropriations legislation will next go before the full Senate for a vote.
“America’s veterans have bravely served our nation and we have a shared responsibility to make sure their service and sacrifice is honored,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our veterans have also earned every opportunity to be productive and successful after completing their military service. I’m working to secure this funding to increase opportunities for veterans looking to pursue flight training and careers as commercial airline pilots. We have a real need for qualified pilots, and if we make the training more available to veterans, we can provide them with a good paying job.”
The funding will be used to establish a pilot program at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to authorize competitive grants supporting flight-training services to veterans who are not already military pilots. Flight-training schools that have established pathways to employment with commercial air carriers are eligible for federal grants to recruit and enroll veterans for flight training. Grants funding may be used to provide guidance and flight-training services, including additional training required to reach proficiency. Grants may also be used to provide tuition, books, training materials, and equipment.
Support for Baldwin’s efforts includes Fox Valley Technical College, Air Wisconsin and Appleton Airport.
“This is an excellent opportunity to both address a growing pilot shortage while helping military veterans discover a rewarding career in aviation,” said Dr. Susan May, President of Fox Valley Technical College, a premier training provider for pilots and aircraft mechanics in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “Fox Valley Technical College is delighted to again work with Senator Baldwin on a key initiative that builds economic development and improves lives.”
“In addition to providing a funding mechanism for our nation’s veterans who are looking to start a new career as a commercial pilot, this program is another tool to help solve the growing pilot shortage,” said Bob Frisch, Air Wisconsin’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our projections show the commercial aviation industry will need over 200,000 new pilots over the next 20 years. A major hurdle to becoming an airline pilot is funding for initial flight training, and Senator Baldwin’s veteran pilot training grant program directly addresses that issue.”
An online version of this release is available here.