Last week, the House of Representatives introduced the bipartisan Aviation Workforce Development Act, designed to stimulate training for more new pilots and aircraft technicians. The lynchpin of the proposed legislation is enabling potential aviation career seekers to use tax-advantaged 529 investment plans to fund their educations.

When initially approved, 529 plans only enabled tax-free savings to go toward college tuition and expenses. Over time, the list of educational options has grown to include vocational schools and apprentice programs, but to date, aviation career education has not been eligible for the 529 savings.

Four members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Ways and Means committees, led by Mike Collins, R-Ga., and including Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., worked together to craft the Aviation Workforce Development Act with another four original cosponsors. Some 20 commercial and business aviation organizations also back the proposed legislation.

Collins said, “The Aviation Workforce Development Act is a common-sense proposal to give Americans who want to pursue a career in aviation, on the ground or in the air, the same tools as those seeking four-year degrees with zero increased cost to taxpayers.”

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