Press Releases

Larsen, Young, Craig Introduce Bill to Promote Transportation Career Opportunities, Boost Diversity

Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Don Young (AK-At-Large) and Angie Craig (MN-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to promote career opportunities and boost diversity in the U.S. transportation industry. The Promoting Service in Transportation Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a series of broadcast, digital and print media public service announcement campaigns to promote job opportunities and improve diversity in the transportation workforce.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Don Young (AK-At-Large) and Angie Craig (MN-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to promote career opportunities and boost diversity in the U.S. transportation industry. The Promoting Service in Transportation Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a series of broadcast, digital and print media public service announcement campaigns to promote job opportunities and improve diversity in the transportation workforce.

The need for more professional airline pilots, air traffic controllers, railroad workers and truck drivers, mechanics, among other professions, grows as industry stakeholders face increased competition worldwide. For instance, the aviation industry will need more than 800,000 pilots, 769,000 technicians and nearly 20,000 air traffic controllers to meet demand over the next 10 years. The trucking industry needs 60,000 to 100,000 more drivers each year. Not only does the transportation workforce face significant shortages, there is also a diversity issue: nearly 90 percent of professional airline pilots and nearly 70 of truck drivers are white males.

“In Washington state and across the country, transportation means jobs and is key to economic recovery,” said Larsen, a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee. “As demand continues to grow, it is important all Americans are aware of the career opportunities available in the transportation sector to grow the next generation workforce and keep the economy and people moving. I will continue working in Congress to make sure all Americans have access to well-paying jobs and more skills training to succeed.”

“When it comes to transportation, Alaska’s unique geography can present many challenges that require a first-rate transportation workforce to overcome,” said Young, a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Our aviation industry is essential to Alaska’s economic health, and we must continue to be able to meet the demands of this critical sector. The Promoting Service in Transportation Act is an important piece of legislation that helps ensure that Alaska can continue to hire and retain top-notch pilots, truckers, and other transit workers to support an industry that we all depend on. Bolstering our aviation workforce is especially vital as we work to bring back jobs and economic activity lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am grateful to my friend, Congressman Rick Larsen, for his leadership on this crucial legislation and look forward to working together to get it across the finish line.”

“The transportation industry faces workforce shortages and diversity challenges that we must address,” said Craig. “I’m proud to join Representatives Rick Larsen and Don Young to reintroduce the Promoting Service in Transportation Act to attract a new generation of workers to in-demand career opportunities in the transportation industry. From the air traffic control facility in Farmington, Minnesota, and the 12 FAA repair stations in Minnesota’s Second District to our regional aviation hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, we must reduce the workforce shortage and recruit diverse applicants to fill local jobs.”

Original cosponsors of the Promoting Service in Transportation Act include Reps. Julia Brownley (CA-26), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At-Large), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Stephen Lynch (MA-08) and Steve Cohen (TN-09).

Several key transportation stakeholders voiced their support for the Promoting Service in Transportation Act.

“As the airline industry recovers from the impacts of the COVID pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure a steady supply of aviation professionals,” said Faye Malarkey Black, President and CEO, Regional Airline Association (RAA). “With over 50 percent of commercial airline pilots retiring over the next fifteen years, and maintenance technicians in short supply, we must take every measure today to help attract and support tomorrow’s workforce. Exposure is an important first step in generating career interest, and we are pleased this legislation focuses on strong outreach to populations that are still dramatically underrepresented in the aviation sector. Not only is it important to attract more professionals to airline careers, we need to ensure our professionals are just as diverse as the communities we serve. RAA applauds House Aviation Subcommittee Chair Rick Larsen, Congressman Don Young and Congresswoman Angie Craig for reintroducing this critical piece of legislation.” 

“ALPA proudly supports any effort that will allow the United States to break down barriers to foster a more diverse and inclusive aviation workforce that reflects the communities and customers our industry serves. We are grateful for Chair Larsen and Reps. Young and Craig for their continued commitment to attracting the next generation of transportation professionals. It is imperative that we do more as a nation to open the doors of opportunity for those currently underrepresented in the piloting profession and maintain the highest safety standards in the world,” said Captain Joe DePete, President, Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA)

“Helicopter Association International supports Chair Rick Larsen’s introduction of the Promoting Service in Transportation Act. The legislation allows the Department of Transportation to increase awareness of career opportunities and promote diversity in the transportation sector through workforce outreach programs. Advanced air mobility (AAM) is a transformative new technology that will alter the transportation sector for years to come. The vertical lift industry requires a similarly transformative workforce to successfully serve the next generation of air travel. Establishing outreach programs is an essential step to building a dynamic workforce that will meet these future industry needs. HAI thanks Chair Larsen for introducing legislation that will encourage American workers to explore transportation career paths and foster a diverse and inclusive labor force,” said James Viola, President and CEO, Helicopter Association International (HAI).

“Increasing awareness of the meaningful and well-paying careers in the transportation industry will only help to put our country back to work and improve our economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With the growing shortage of qualified professional truck drivers, Truckload Carriers Association applauds Representatives Larsen, Young, and Craig for their efforts to resolve this critical need for the continued success of our nation’s supply chain,” said John Lyboldt, President, Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

"I thank Chairman Larsen for introducing this legislation which will help build a brighter, more diverse, and inclusive future for the transportation sector by highlighting to young people of all races, genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses that industries, such as aviation, offer an exciting career path with opportunities for professional growth and advancement of a sustainable transportation system," said Ed Bolen, President and CEO, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

The bill is supported by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the Aircraft Operators and Pilots Association (AOPA), the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

For text of the Promoting Service in Transportation Act, click here.