Labor Aerospace Research Agenda MIT
Contact Us
Search this site

MIT Labor Aerospace Research Agenda, E40-211, One Amherst Street, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Policy Recommendations

Research by the Labor Aerospace Research Agenda (LARA) was featured in the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry issued Nov. 18, 2002.

LARA Co-Directors Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Thomas Kochan, Research Scientist Betty Barrett, and project affiliates provided a White Paper and formal testimony that was incorporated into the report, "Anyone, Anything, Anywhere, Anytime." This report offers nine major recommendations and numerous additional recommendations for revitalization of the U.S. aerospace industry.

The Final Report, in highlighting massive consolidation, job losses, and revenue cuts over the past two decades, calls attention to the faltering underpinnings of the aerospace industry. The report also offers a vision catalyzing leaders in government, industry, labor, and academia to ensure this industry's future prominence.

LARA testimony and research on projected skills gaps and industry-government skills development were cited in Chapter 4: "National Security: Defend America and Project Power." LARA testimony and research on employment trends, skills development, and demographics were cited in Chapter 8: "Workforce: Launch the Future."

Additional LARA analysis figured into the Commission's interim reports and some commissioners' dissents and comments.


Download white paper

To download the white paper, please list your name and email address below. By doing so you are indicating your understanding that any reproduction for distribution should be done only with the permission of the project. For permission, please contact


LARA encourages broad use of materials. Leaving your address will also make it possible for LARA to send you email updates on the project.

Yes, I would like to receive email updates.
No, please don't send me email updates.


LARA supported the Presidential Commission on the Aerospace Industry through research and submission of a White Paper, Developing a 21st Century Aerospace Workforce, on the challenges facing the 21st century aerospace workforce. The White Paper addresses three areas of concern;

  • Challenges in Attracting and Retaining a 21st Century Workforce
  • Inadequate Infrastructure Enabling Wise Investment in Human Capital
  • Limited Mechanisms for Diffusing Best Practices Across the Aerospace Enterprise.

In response to these concerns, we recommend five specific initiatives each designed to have a transformational impact and an overall recommendation around the importance of research and development spending as a “pull” for the next generation workforce. The specific initiatives are:

§Public Policy Priority Protecting Investment in Intellectual Capital: Establishing mechanisms to mitigate instability and other threats to investment in “intellectual capital,” which could include developing longer-term procurement contracts, targeted attention to intellectual capital issues at key stages of the procurement process, requiring “intellectual capital impact statements” when funding is to be cut or re-directed in significant ways, and other related issues.

§Aerospace Capability Network: Developing a public/private partnership network organization in which all key stakeholders in the aerospace industry coordinate the establishment and dynamic evolution of a full set of relevant skill standards, future capability requirements, and relevant workforce data.

§National Training and Development Partnership: Establishing a multi-stakeholder, public/private partnership supporting strategic investment in skills and capabilities that are central to industry success and that would not otherwise receive adequate investment especially involving investment in building capability across organizations along what can be termed “mission critical” value streams.

§Regional and Local Workforce Initiatives: Demonstration grants providing targeted support for pilot local and regional innovations that effectively attract, retain and cross-utilize the aerospace workforce, as well as “best practices” with new work systems. Additional support should also be targeted at piloting mechanisms for regional and national diffusion of successful innovations. This could include matching funds from local foundations, governments and industry with implications for national policy where appropriate.

§Innovation by Government as an Employer: Establishing mechanisms to develop and diffuse innovations in strategic human resource management at government aerospace labs, depots and bases. This is particularly important in the aerospace sector where major classes of employees are hired into the private sector after a period of time building skills and capabilities in the public sector.


Back to top

Workshops and Presentations Policy Recommendations Ongoing Research Products and Publications About LARA