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FAA Welcomes Air Traffic Control Class of 2014

FAA Welcomes Air Traffic Control Class of 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Control Specialists manage the safest, most efficient airspace system in the world - ensuring 50,000 flights take off and land safely every day. It takes a dedicated, professional workforce to maintain this level of excellence, which is why I am pleased to announce that the FAA has extended tentative offer letters to 1,600 candidates to join this proud team as the next group of Air Traffic Control Specialists. The first training classes for this group will start at the Academy in September.

I could not be more excited about this new class of promising candidates.  This next generation of air traffic controllers is special because this February, we instituted an interim hiring process that was open to all Americans. This allowed the FAA to recruit even more of the best, most qualified candidates to keep our skies as safe as possible from a pool of 28,000 applicants.

Photo collage of air traffic controllers at work

Not only have we created job opportunities for many qualified Americans, we created a more efficient process that saved millions of taxpayer dollars.  Instead of costing around $8 million to test all 28,000 candidates, by creating a more effective process up front, the second phase testing cost approximately $700,000.  That’s a big win for taxpayers.

Applicants with an aviation or military background generally did very well.  In fact, about 65 percent of the new class has some combination of Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) education, military, or some specific aviation related work history or experience.  CTI school students received tentative offers of employment at a rate that was three times higher than the other applicants.

Air traffic control training at the FAA Academy at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK, consists of 17 weeks of in-depth, comprehensive classroom instruction and real-life simulation training for both the Terminal (Tower) and the En Route operations. Candidates must successfully complete training to continue employment as Air Traffic Control Specialists.

After graduating from the academy, trainees are assigned to a tower or En Route air traffic control facility and continue with three years of on-the-job training to achieve Certified Professional Controller status.  

We received useful feedback from the public and lawmakers on our interim hiring process that will prove helpful as we make further improvements to the process before the next round of hiring.  We will track the success of this class closely as we continue to evaluate our recruitment and applicant assessment process.  

We plan to issue a vacancy announcement each year, to keep pace with expected attrition and air traffic growth.  The FAA plans to hire more than 6,600 new controllers over the next five years.  I encourage all qualified persons to apply.  
 

Michael Huerta is Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Comments

This is a bunch of BS. Huerta should be fired. Unqualified people are getting in and then failing out because they are not trained and can't handle it. It's a WASTE of tax dollars. Until there is a MAJOR tragedy and Joe Public finds out that unqualified people are being hired and the media gets a hold of it, then maybe we will see the old system reinstituted.

Keep a good eye on the experiment of the new hires who could care less about aviation & watch them wash. That saves taxpayer dollars? Oh boy.

We escaped a war to come to this country ONLY for my kid. After research for the best ATC school we came up with ERAU as his choice. We took out ALL student loans because we believed in the American Dream. After 5 years, he is still not selected....I wonder really why. This bio Questionnaire the FAA created asking questions that is ridicilous has my son struggling looking for a career and trying not to be homeless because we are his co-signers. We are threatened to have our paychecks garnished, his paychecks and maybe a lien on our mortgage because we cannot afford to re-pay $125,000 for 4 years at ERAU. FAA in 2009 told all CTI schools this is how we hire along with Veterans. We only wanted the best for our kid just like any other parent. We didnt have the opportunity to go to college because of war in our country. Would you put your children through a CTI school Mr Huerta?

So I'm sure we didn't waste any tax dollars on that 2013 AT-SAT that was administered for absolutely no reason right?

While Mr. Huerta 'could not be more excited', as a professional user of the NAS, I could not be more concerned. Moreover, as a taxpayer, I'm outraged. I recently learned through several CTI grads, who held at least a Pvt. Pilot Certificate, and scored in the high 90's on the ATC written, that they were deemed unqualified by the FAA. These individuals were required to take an additional written exam that asked questions such as, 'do you like your mother?', and 'what is your favorite color?". I decided to ask two ATC management folks I know about this hiring process. I was told those motivated and aspiring CTI grads, were found to 'have an unfair advantage' over others. What happened to hard work and applying oneself to reach a goal? Aviation is not a place for mediocrity, and wannabees. Would citizens boarding their next flight care to have their pilots selected in the same manner? Somewhere in the FAA, is an ATC committee 'glad handing' themselves and accepting an award, while continuing to preserve their moronic glare. After having accepted the burden of the 'public trust' you have failed to operate in our best interest. Shameful, indeed.

Not to mention that the test taker did not receive any kind of score that you could use to compare. Who's to say that they didn't just pick the first 1600 that took the idiotic Biotest. I also would like to see the percentage of the 28,000 people that had some sort of Air Traffic experience. I bet it was a lot more than 65%, so I wish he would quit touting the 65% as a win for this test.

With over 30 years as a controller working the boards, not downstairs in the offices, I'd like to put my two cents in. The selection process should identify individuals that have the characteristics necessary to excel in the job. Not individuals with some sort of degree, that happen to have prior experience from somewhere, of a particular skin color, of a particular gender, or whatever minority status the politicians dream up. But an actual "screening" process that "weeds out" anyone and everyone that doesn't posess the required abilities, aptitudes, and personalities. Yes, I said personality. Would you want the controller working your mother's flight to freeze and cry when the airliner she's riding in is on a collision course with another aircraft. That's reality, I've seen it. As far as abilities/aptitudes, having prior aviation knowledge (CTI, military, etc.) does not mean any screening was done. Just because someone taught me to sound like a doctor, doesn't mean I'll make a good one. If these individuals have what it takes, they'll make the cut. We need to cut the cr*p and do what's need to get the best people into this job no matter who's feelings get hurt. Do I sound harsh? Yes. The truth sometimes hurts. Will it cost more than the current silliness. Yes. But, considering the consequences, I think it's worth every penny. What's it worth to you?

So .. you wanted to save some money and instead of a standardized test handing out an electronic 'bio questionaire ' ... and cut out 95% of candidates based on irrelevant questions like "which do you like: watching football or planting flowers". WOW -- I would guess MOST of your current workforce would fail that test as well. Silly test, Silly.

I would justy love to see the percentage of non minorities hired on this round! Ive heard it was "minority targeted". No wonder qualified candidates became non qualified really fast.

I was wondering if anyone on here attended the CTI program?

Never received the opportunity to work in the FAA, to old when I retired from the USAF, terminal radar approach and tower experience. I see nothing has changed when an administrator talks about saving money. Blah, blah, blah, it's a lot of talk when it's the tax payer that pays. I would like to see the FAA run like a business. Bet Mr. Huerta would be looking for a job if this was the case. I would picked the most qualified candidates. Kudo's to the spinmeister. Nice spin on saving my tax dollars. A lot of military experience being pushed aside too! What a shame.

This totally makes since how 560 people with ZERO experience walked off with a job opportunity I, and many fellow ATC veterans have been working towards for 6 years. Keep blowing smoke and spinning everything to those who don't know better

What a great idea! Let's use a critical career field for an occupational psychology experiment! Looks like a certain someone with political science and public affairs degrees is working on his doctoral dissertation, courtesy of taxpayer funds and at the risk of public safety. This is what happens when we place politicians in charge of systems and services beyond their education, then they hold in contempt the very people who make them look good. Tragically, this administrator will move on to the next profitable venture long before the common sense naysayers are proven right, and someone else will have to clean up the mess.

What a bunch of hoey. 6600 controllers to replace the exiting work force? that does not begin to cover your expected loses, through quitting and retirement. You want to take Joe Nobody who know nothing about aviation and use them to replace a experienced workforce? Not to mention that it takes up to five times longer to train. Are you some kind of special stupid?

Glad to see art history majors getting selected over CTI grads.

LIES LIES AND MORE LIES....HOW CAN YOU MESS WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES LIKE THAT?

What about the money already spent giving the AT-SAT to CTI students, whose scores were scrapped only so they could be re-tested? Was that also a big win for the taxpayers? Or the people who already passed the test, had their scores scrapped, and the new and improved system told them they were ineligible to take a test they had already passed? Was that too an improvement in the hiring process?

Qualified Persons???? REALLY???? My wife and I both work, and we saved for years to send our daughter to college. She's a 2013 CTI graduate (ATC), AT-SAT "well qualified", FAA Dispatch Certificate....she got a fantastic education at MTSU. Yet she, and others (including military veterans) didn't pass the new "Any one can apply" test....which had nothing to do with the true subject matter. Not only have we wasted her college fund, she's wasted years of her life. Not only is this a "Bad Political Stunt", but it's very dangerous for the thousands of Americans who fly every day and trust ATC to keep them safe. Answer this: Who would YOU want to give you vectors for an ILS in "Hard IFR" conditions at a Class B airport, a person with REAL ATC training or someone who really does not have a clue???? Controllers have more lives in their hands in one shift than doctors do in their entire careers.

Lies. This new hiring process costs taxpayers more by hiring anyone who took art class in high school rather than someone with aviation experience, or best yet, a CTI degree. Typically, there is an abbreviated training class in Oklahoma City for CTI grad, but since art class is more important, currently only the full 17 week course exists. Of course the FAA will not admit to this failure, so they will likely push these GED students through, where they will be responsible for the safety of your flights.

Well its good to know someone feels good about this process. Personally I feel terrible for the men and woman that invested thousands of dollars and/or fought for their county to have the door slammed in their face. For instance; Air Traffic Controller for over 20 years has certifications at 3 different military bases, is an Air Traffic Manager in the ANG, has been a CPC at a level 12 facility and was "Not Qualified" by this "fair" and "efficient" process. I wish the class of 2014 the best....I'll be standing by to help however I can.

Do CTI graduates that didn't get selected and had passed the AT-SAT get a refund for a degree that now is worth next to nothing?

"This next generation of air traffic controllers is special because this February, we instituted an interim hiring process that was open to all Americans. This allowed the FAA to recruit even more of the best, most qualified candidates to keep our skies as safe as possible from a pool of 28,000 applicants." LIES!!! This allowed the FAA to recruit UNQUALIFIED candidates from off the streets while hundreds of actual CTI students are drowning in debt from jobs that they were promised would only be available to people who took the time to actually go to school for it. The Biographical Assessment is bias and include questions like "how many sports did you play in high school?". QUESTIONS NOT RELEVANT TO AVIATION. Fellow CTI students keep writing to your congressmen and keep fighting for off the streets hires to go to school like the rest of us for the jobs we earned!

Mr. Huerta, I am honored to finally be a part of this group! After nearly three years of waiting from ERAU's graduation, this is an exciting time. I appreciate all of your efforts in running this well-oiled machine that is the Federal Aviation Administration. Very respectfully, Phillip Gable