On Wednesday, February 3rd, the FAA Small Business Program Office recently participated in the Aerospace Diversity Policy & Research Forum. This event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the University of Mississippi Center for Air & Space Law Task Force. This outreach was an invitation-only event reserved for key industry stakeholders that aimed to explore inclusion, diversity and equity in the aerospace industry.
The event featured speakers and discussion topics that explored the perception, policies and practices limiting the participation of minority groups in the aerospace industrial base. Discussion topics included how marginalized groups can compete and grow in the marketplace, what barriers exist that prevent minority-owned businesses from participating in the aerospace industrial base, and what changes can be made to advance inclusion in the aerospace sector.
Individual breakout sessions were conducted in the afternoon that included Supply Chain Improvement, Workforce Development & Entry Transfer, Board Composition & Senior Leadership, Industrial Base Analysis & Sustainment, and Space Market Commercialization. The FAA Small Business Program Office was a primary participant in the Industrial Base Analysis & Sustainment breakout session that included a discussion regarding how to increase participation in U.S. Government innovation and contracting programs for historically marginalized businesses. The session included a discussion about the necessity of engagement and education regarding federal contracting programs in order to assist marginalized groups with accessing and identifying opportunities and technical innovation initiatives. The discussion also examined government procurement, contracting and investment practices to determine the best opportunities for companies owned by historically marginalized groups to compete and grow in the aerospace industry.