Executive: Educated workforce key to success in the skies

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 06:01 PM.

“I think I can speak for industry because I think we’re pretty well aligned. There are a couple of concerns in the aviation industry. We have an aging workforce. I’m kind of the typical boss, and I’m not 20.”

Rader said the engineering workforce had been historically white men but said more people from all walks of society were needed to produce new ideas.

“STEM, across income levels and economic levels, is hugely important across the industry,” Rader said. “Society tends to tell men to go do that, so those of us in this room, me included, are creating the culture, creating the environment, where we start kids on deciding what they want to do in the future. We get to drive what they see and what they hear and then they get to draw their own conclusions.”

Aviation companies see an important need to replace their aging workforce of engineers and technicians, he said.

“Who’s going to design stuff after this. It’s got people very, very worried and for good reason,” Rader said. “I didn’t want to sermonize about STEM.  I think it’s something that we really ought to think about as we go forward. We have to figure out what our future is like and we just cannot ignore it. There’s just too much out there and there’s just too much at stake.”

Rader, who was stationed at Cherry Point from 1979 to 1983 for his first operational assignment, told the 300 attendees that he felt like he was coming home.

“What you do in this area to support the warfighter is phenomenal,” he said. “You have my personal thanks and just respect for your patriotism for what you do for this country.”

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