WSU Tech President and Vice President of Workforce Development at Wichita State University
Dr. Sheree Utash testified before the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee on Aviation
on Thursday about the growth of the aviation industry and the increasing demand for
highly skilled aviation workers.
The committee, which includes U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran from Kansas, held a hearing titled
“Strengthening the Aviation Workforce” to “examine challenges facing the aviation
workforce and identify solutions for improving the education, recruitment, hiring,
training and retention of workers in the aviation industry and at the Federal Aviation
Administration.” The hearing also examined “opportunities to increase representation
in and promote awareness of aviation careers,” according to the U.S. Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science & Transportation website.
Utash was invited to testify by Moran, who she said has offered consistent support
for WSU Tech’s efforts to increase aviation technology programs.
“I want to personally thank Senator Moran for championing the crucial cause of fortifying
our aviation workforce,” she said. “With unparalleled dedication, he persists in advocating
for the interests of Kansas and the country amidst the exceptional challenges faced
by this vital sector. Wichita, in particular, remains immensely indebted to his unwavering
In her testimony, Utash outlined WSU Tech’s efforts to support Wichita’s aviation
industry through the National Center for Aviation Training, which has a national reputation
for excellence and places 92% of its graduates in high-demand jobs in aerospace throughout
southcentral Kansas after graduation.
Utash’s testimony can be viewed starting at the 57-minute mark here.
The rigorous curriculum and applied learning requirements have bolstered WSU Tech’s
international reputation in the field of aviation technology, created a pathway for
success for its students, and fueled a talent pipeline for Kansas employers.
Utash also pointed to several articles and reports that indicate an increasing shortfall
between the supply and demand for aviation workers in the coming years and urged senators
to support efforts to align education and workforce training programs with employer
“We need to urge new and more innovative industry-career and technical education partnerships
that support student success and meet the diverse needs of students, industry and
our communities, resulting in a much broader talent pool, thereby enhancing the aviation
workforce,” she testified.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas’ only urban public research university, enrolling
almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from
every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are
recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in
the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),
Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of
applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one
of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing
over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.