Global aviation is booming, but who will fly all the planes? The world is already facing a pilot shortage, and analysts predict it will only get worse. One recent estimate found that 760,000 new pilots will be needed over the next two decades, far more people than today’s flight schools are preparing to put into cockpits.
California’s Next Generation Aviation Academy is doing its part to fill this gap and give disadvantaged kids a better chance at a good career in the process. The nonprofit has partnered with Boeing to set up flight simulators at Chandler Airport in Fresno, where girls and kids of color can attend week-long aviation camps. A $90,000 grant from the city’s transportation agency funds additional real-life glider training. Observers say it’s the first flight school to focus not just on growing the ranks of pilots, but making sure those ranks reflect the diversity of the flying public.
Joseph Oldham, who runs the academy, believes the initiative could get underserved young people on a glide path to in-demand jobs. “If they get to fly, they see that it’s not an unattainable goal. This could be a pathway for some of these families to change the course of decades of economic distress.”
The federal government has rescinded a key approval from a highway widening project in Portland and a group of young protesters is getting some of the credit.
Made up of teens and twentysomethings, “Youth vs ODOT” (Oregon Department of Transportation) is an ongoing campaign to link the state’s highway expansions to the climate crisis. The campaign couldn’t be better timed: the infrastructure bill recently passed by congress is about to send states hundreds of billions of dollars for various transportation projects.
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The success that Youth vs ODOT had in forcing a rethink of the project could be a bellwether. The $1.2 billion plan will widen a highway in one of the city’s historically Black neighborhoods. In response, the campaign barnstormed planning hearings with data about the pollution and congestion the project would cause. Now the Federal Highway Administration is asking the state to redo its environmental study. At the very least, it appears that if the project moves forward it will do so with alterations designed to mitigate pollution and reconnect parts of the surrounding neighborhood. “We won’t solve this crisis by doing things the same way we always have,” said a Youth vs ODOT member. “And we need older generations to join in too.”
Give me four
Who would have thought that something like this would catch on? Just four months after Spain announced a major push for four-day work weeks, 30 companies in the U.K. will trial shorter weeks as part of the nation’s Four Day Week Campaign. Under the six-month pilot, which begins in June, employees at the companies will be paid the same amount for putting in 80 percent as many hours. If productivity doesn’t fall, the change could be made permanent.
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Research shows that employees are happier and less stressed when they work four days a week. As such, companies around the world have successfully implemented shorter work weeks. But large groups of companies making an orchestrated shift is a newer phenomenon, and seems to signal a mainstreaming of the idea. “2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work,” said the program manager at 4 Day Week Global.