Representatives Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced the measure (HR 758) earlier this year, and it cleared the House by a unanimous vote.
The bill charges 11 executive branch agencies, including NASA and the Defense and Homeland Security departments, to identify new aerospace workforce opportunities through a variety of scholarship, training, and recruitment programs in partnership with the private sector and state governments.
a Each year, the task force, under the leadership of the Labor Department, would report to Congress on the status of federal policies designed to advance human capital development in the areas of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics, as well as vocational trades. The average American aerospace employee is in his or her 50s, far above the levels that prevail in other high-technology sectors. In 2008, 27 percent of aerospace workers will also become eligible for retirement.