Growing Concern Over FAA Controller Hiring Policy
By Robert W. Poole, Jr.
Reason Foundation Director of Transportation Policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow
The FAA's controversial 2014 controller hiring policy—opening it up to "off-the-street" candidates and requiring everyone to first "pass" a Biographical Assessment (BA)—is attracting more critical attention. A bipartisan Safe Towers Act was introduced last year by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R, IL) and Dan Lipinski (D, IL), and will be reintroduced in the new Congress. It would eliminate use of the BA and reinstate the long-standing FAA preference for graduates of ATC courses at colleges in the Collegiate Training Initiative and former military controllers. It would also allow those who did not "pass" the 2014 BA to re-apply, which is not currently allowed.
FAA has never given a straightforward explanation for the new procedure, which is widely believed to be motivated by concerns within the FAA Human Resources office that too high a fraction of controllers are white males. Officials of CTI colleges, such as Curt Scott of Green River College in Auburn, WA, told Air Traffic Management that "CTI schools had already provided a large and very diverse pool of available, 'ready to train' candidates—which the FAA BA personality test screened out for the most part, disqualifying over 90%."
Fox 10 in Phoenix reported on Dec. 23, 2014 that it had obtained internal FAA documents and emails relating to the new hiring approach, claiming that they "show the biographical assessment was never validated, and the agency knew it was flawed." It reported an email saying the agency "has restricted briefings on the background and development of the BA, citing advice [from counsel] amid concerns of legal challenges." An email from a deputy assistant administrator was reported as saying, "I want to consolidate a few different email chains and make sure everyone is on the same page . . . we have to find a way to address Congressional inquiries without hurting our cause when it comes to litigation." Our cause?
Despite this defensiveness, yet another email reported as "particularly troubling . . . the large number of CTI candidates who were previously qualified, many of whom had already passed the Air Traffic Selection and Training (AT-SAT) test with high test scores, who were subsequently deemed ineligible because of the BA." Another such email noted that "Some FAA Employee Associations have expressed concern that many very qualified minority and women candidates, as well as veterans, were deemed ineligible based on the BA."
The only defense from FAA that I'm aware of is that the BA was intended as a screening device, to avoid the huge expense of administering the AT-SAT to some 22,500 applicants—as opposed to the 1,591 deemed to have passed the BA and thereby eligible to take the AT-SAT. But that justification is ludicrous. It rests on the premise that FAA should open its doors to "off-the-street" applicants, rather than limiting applicants to former military controllers and CTI graduates, as had been the practice prior to 2014.
That's the course recommended in 2005 by the DOT Office of Inspector General in AV-2006-021, "FAA Has Opportunities to Reduce Academy Training Time and Cost by Increasing Educational Requirements for Newly Hired Air Traffic Controllers." The idea was that FAA would shift some of the coursework now taught at its Academy to the CTI schools, enabling most such graduates to finish the Academy course in less time and possibly enabling some to bypass it altogether and go straight to on-the-job training. This would also be consistent with the requirement in many federal professional job categories for a college degree. It would also be consistent with the 2011 recommendations of FAA's Independent Review Panel on the Selection, Assignment, and Training of Air Traffic Control Specialists.
Frankly, the effort to politicize the selection and training of air traffic controllers does great harm to the ATO's standing as one of the world's best ANSPs. It is yet another reason to de-politicize the ATO, by removing it from the FAA and converting it into a self-supporting, commercialized ANSP.
Stubborn Questions For The FAA- Part 5
THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE FAA INFORMERS. PLEASE KEEP THE DOCUMENTS COMING
If stakeholders perceive the FAA is “getting rid” of the Academy in Oklahoma City, then they may withdraw their support or actively oppose the vision.
The FAA will need to communicate a message that the FAA Academy’s air traffic mission will evolve into an advanced state-of-the-art training center of excellence that will provide recurrent and specialized training for the controller workforce and continue to need highly experienced instructors to administer training. The Academy will lead the office that accredits educational institutions to recognize FAA-approved programs. Furthermore, they will continue to train other Aviation career fields such as airway transportation system specialists and aviation inspectors. The evaluation will NOT result in the FAA “getting rid” of the Academy. We continue to anticipate a need for training.
Students currently enrolled in the AT-CTI Program will be faced with changes in the curriculum and the program. These students have planned their educational career based on this curriculum and will perceive the choice as being between remaining in an obsolete program or changing their career plans and may complain.
There are several ways the FAA can mitigate this problem. The first is establishing clear communication with students. This will keep them informed of the changes and how they will be taken care of. Secondly, a phase in period. This will ensure that the students are able to adapt and change with the program. The third way is to establish an algorithm that provides for these students in the hiring process. Finally ensuring that everything is fully legal will protect the FAA while helping students make the right decisions for their careers.
Laugh of the year… It’s better than Boone collecting Per Diem
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Information Services and Chief Information Officer, and apparent self-anointed savior of the corrupt Tina Amereihn vows to “expose” those behind ctistudents.com- yada yada yada….Tina is apparently very, very upset that the corruption has been revealed- and that her friend Molly Harris (must nosh together) has been exposed for trying to concoct a story to tell congress that won’t expose the FAA to liability.
Private Note to Tina- All Others Please Turn Away. Hey Tina- Come At Us!!!! We look forward to it. There are thousands of us out here. We aren’t hiding. Put on your Sherlock sleuth hat and get exposing you little upset bureaucrat you. It’s almost cute. Before you do read up a little bit on free speech- for you that means going straight to Wikipedia.
If you are new to this website- the FAA is conducted an off-the-street recruiting process for all candidates. It began with the Biographical Assessment or “BA”, which is open to most people with a high school diploma. CTISTUDENTS.COM take on the Chicago Tribune Article of May 26th ,linked above, is below:
“FAA officials have defended the policy, saying the assessment is merely the first cut in a rigorous application process…”
First cut in a rigorous application process? The FAA drops the cut line on the AT-SAT so low that 98% of the test-takers were “successful”? The AT-SAT is the ONLY validated test to predict air traffic controller potential. That is, as CTISTUDENTS.COM predicted weeks ago after being alerted by concerned FAA Civil Aeronautical Medical Institute (CAMI) employees, the “passing” score on the AT-SAT has been reduced to BELOW 20%. Many former military and CTI students who achieved 100% on the AT-SAT failed the BA.
Rigorous is not the first word that comes to mind when I see what is happening. Reports from the most recent AT-SAT exam indicated that many test-takers had no idea how to respond to the test. It was moving too fast and too complex for some. Many were voicing frustration on the difficulty of the test. Many walked out. Somehow, the FAA found a way to “pass” these people. Rigorous? I think not. Fraudulent is a more appropriate way to describe the application process WHEN YOU DROP THE PASSING SCORE ON THE AT-SAT TO BELOW 20%.
“…and that it gauges traits shown to predict success as a controller….”
No it does not. This Biographical Assessment was never validated by the FAA. In fact, it is still being “validated” by APTMetrics after its implementation. The only office that can actually validate this test according to FAA HR guidelines (CAMI) recommended that the FAA wait until at least three more studies were successfully concluded. The time frame to complete these studies is in the 2016-2018 time period. Dana Broach (CAMI guru) himself stated this in a study published in November 2013. Months before the validated BA (HAHAHAHA) made its appearance. The BA was so validated that several individuals taking the tests at the same time, used the SAME answers and achieved DIFFERENT results.
“The agency added that the new recruitment policy is necessary to fill thousands of openings in the next five years amid a wave of retirements….”
The new recruitment policy is NOT necessary to fill thousands of openings in the next five years because the CTI applicant registry (“the pool”) had approximately 3,500 candidates (including veterans and a great percentage of minority graduates) in it who were all post-assessment. The only thing left in that hiring process was to give the CTI grad an academy date. And many more CTI students were graduating every semester to reload the pool. This would greatly reduce the costs and shorten the time for needed controller applicants that were QUALIFIED to get to FAA facilities.
"Improvements were made to enhance decision-making and increase objectivity in the assessment of candidates," FAA spokeswoman Kristie Greco said….”
The FAA’s pretext in attempting “to increase objectivity” was a dismal failure and ruse. The enhanced decision-making process selected alleged waitresses with zero post-secondary education over college educated veterans who were air traffic controllers in the military. In fact, as the FAA knows many current active air traffic controllers failed the BA “test”. The FAA selected applicants based upon their self-assertion that they actually had held a job yet never verified their employment history before sending them to the no-fail AT-SAT exam.
Why even bother with this “rigorous application process”? It’s a fraudulent act to conduct hiring in this manner and yet you try to convince Congress and the flying public that it is all above board. The FAA will have to eventually turn this “verification” data (likely including falsified data generated AFTER the test) over to Congress and answer for their sham actions. As it stands- FAA HR will let NO ONE review THE BA PROCESS OR DATA under advice from legal counsel.
“Now, the FAA is conducting an off-the-street recruiting process for all candidates. It begins with the assessment, which is open to most people with a high school diploma…..”
That’s odd. Nowhere on the JobsUSA website or on the application was a requirement for a high school diploma listed. It is an absolute fact that the FAA accepted applications from high school dropouts. The process to ensure BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE (HAHAHAHAH) has been totally gutted. There is no way to even check whether an applicant can even speak English until they have been offered a job an arrive at the academy.
“Some experts also suggest that the policy appears quietly aimed at attracting more minorities and women to a workforce that is largely male and white, even though the FAA says the new policy is "blind on the issue of diversity, from start to finish…."
Really? If the policy is blind on the issue of diversity then why did the FAA’s HR Director (Carollyn Bostick) act in concert with the head of the National Black Coalition of FAA Aviation Employees to purge the 3,500 CTI students from the applicant registry? Why did the FAA’s Southwest Region Public Information Officer state shortly after the scam was revealed that it was because of “diversity”? The FAA became “blind” on the issue of diversity when EEO complaints were filed. In fact, the FAA (HI MOLLY AND SASHA!) wants to try and find a way to answer Congress without exposing themselves to legal liability. Huerta said it was to find a better qualified applicant. Military veterans, college aviation graduates, commercial pilots, with advanced air traffic training apparently aren’t as good as a “kid” who had his application filled out by FAA HR employees WEARING FAA BADGES in a “church”--- after working hours?
“FAA officials said the biographical assessment represents the first round in a rigorous application process, adding that aviation-school graduates, like everyone else, are free to try again during the next round of hiring, expected next year….”
The next time you apply if you answer the biographical questions the same you undoubtedly get the same result. RED X – rejected for consideration. Errrrr… with a VALIDATED TEST that would be true. Okay, so now knowing that you have to change some answers to perhaps succeed in the FAA ATC lottery, you knowingly lie about your past. That’s great. The FAA either expects you to be a stooge or a liar on the next application round. And only the liars will succeed.
"(Military) veterans performed better than the general public and better than students (who were in the collegiate aviation programs)," said Greco, the FAA spokeswoman. But the air traffic school graduates and members of the general public "performed virtually the same," she said. A 2011 FAA report by an independent review panel, however, offered a different perspective….”
Facts are a stubborn thing but statistics can be nuanced. In this case the FAA took the true statistics regarding the CTI grads superiority in training and nuanced them so much by taking “snapshots” of data that it now appears CTI grads can’t even remember their name let alone outperform an off-the-street hire. Look for: The Utility of the Air Traffic Selection and Training Test Battery in Hiring Graduates of an Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative Program (page 13). Right there...CTI better than OTS. This didn't even account for the fact CTI students were getting more difficult facilities. CTI beat out OTS at the academy and first facility and the preference was deemed warranted. Don't let the FAA shills on the internet tell you its close either. The high level facilities are chock full of CTI grads and ex-military controllers. Also the FAA has the data isolated from the upper tier CTI schools vs OTS and its a complete blowout. UAA, Beaver, ASU, Purdue, etc. The FAA always "forgets" about this when comparing CTI to OTS. The truth of the matter is Joseph Teixeira buried data regarding diversity as well as CTI performance to commercially gain through the upcoming CTC bid and future endeavors BY ELIMINATING CTI COMPETITION. Of course he and Mary M's successor entity (since CTISTUDENTS revealed the scam with TT AMT) will charge the taxpayer instead of relying on colleges and CTI schools.
At least the Independent Review Panel saw through the deception. Kudos to the IRP panel members for revealing: "on a field interview one trainer remarked, 'Please tell them not to send me any more public hires.'” This type of comment, with other information reviewed by the panel, indicates that the FAA needs to review its hiring practices to take advantage of the (collegiate air traffic) system it has created."
The independent review panel was a preeminent panel selected due to their expertise BY THE FAA and included NATCA participation. That is, those who know made statements they could back up versus bureaucrats crafting answers, and reading carefully scripted “talking points,” to elude congressional and legal inquiries.
“An FAA statement accompanying the release of the study noted that FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is committed to "transform the FAA into a more diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects, understands and relates to the diverse customers we serve…."
NOTE TO THOSE WHO USE RACE FOR PROFIT OR POLITICAL GAIN (THAT WOULD INCLUDE YOU HUERTA):
Guess what? Decades and decades prior to Huerta trying to make a name for himself- colleges took bold steps to increase diversity. The ACTI colleges and universities are also deeply committed to helping the FAA achieve a more diverse and inclusive workplace that reflects, understands and relates to the diverse customers that the FAA serves. In fact, the FAA ATO has routinely praised the ACTI member colleges for their extraordinary commitment to diversity. At the latest FAA-CTI symposium in October 2013 the CTI Program Manager told the assembly that the ACTI member schools had far exceeded the FAA’s diversity goals and thanked the schools for their continued efforts. The FAA’s own data shows the “diversity” issue was a shell game and that the excuse changed when they were caught with their pants down.
The FAA says the new hiring policy's goal is to recruit better candidates while also cutting costs associated with testing and training.
We are now entering the theatre of the absurd. You recruit someone who has no verifiable work history, no post-secondary education and perhaps no high school diploma over a person who has graduated from a college or university with a degree in Aeronautical Sciences, holds a certificate of completion in the FAA-CTI ATC program, in many cases holds pilot certificates and is often found working in the aviation field while waiting to be hired by the FAA. Many were vets. The next step is convince Congress and the flying public that you will be able to cut costs associated with testing and training? Dream on McDuff. You’re killing me smalls….
“New controllers typically undergo several years of on-the-job training before being certified and allowed to handle live traffic on their own, a fact that some experts say should minimize any immediate safety problems stemming from the FAA hiring changes….”
Who are these experts? Let’s have them go a mano a mano with our experts who assert that having OTS hires flooding the system will dramatically increase the risk to safe flight. See the info above for a few examples.
“But those experts point to the likelihood that the FAA would slow down the air traffic system — causing chronic airline flight delays — if safety problems emerged from an over-reliance on the swelling numbers of rookie controllers in airport towers and at radar facilities….”
I see. The FAA experts suggest that the system will look really good until it starts looking really bad. We are in full agreement there on the second half.
This is exactly what Joseph Teixeira has been trying to do for years. Create a demand and a “safety crisis” so that he (laughably in charge of safety) can profit. The plan was to “kill” the CTI schools to eliminate competition. How shameful. Maybe someone should ask why lil' Joe was funding the all of the “work” to destroy the programs. Joe, if you can be found- would you care to comment?
We are students and veterans who believe those who serve in the military or graduate the CTI Program are better prepared to enter the air traffic control specialist career path. CTI and veteran students of all races and genders perform better and certify at a much higher rate than off-the-street candidates. The FAA is well aware of this fact, yet due to alleged discrimination, that their own studies disprove, the FAA has effectively eliminated the CTI/ Veteran special hiring pool.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: we are NOT affiliated in any way with the CTI school association or the CTI connection groups.
We are an independent source advocating for current CTI students, VRAs (Veterans) and former CTI graduates as well as exposing alleged corruption by FAA employees.
If our website is too harsh for you we kindly ask that you go elsewhere so you are not offended. If you are interested in the actual story behind FAA managers who have abused the public trust- welcome.
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Teixeira's Boss Does Nothing ??
Teri, Mary and Joe Show
BETRAYAL OF THE PUBLIC TRUST- PLEASE SUBPOENA THIS MAN'S EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS
Oh where oh where has Juggalo CHRIS METTS gone, oh where oh where could he be…
After recusing himself for channeling Juggalo money to Tetra and others, Chris Metts goes DEEP DEEP UNDERCOVER (that’s for you PJ because we know you get off pretending to be a spy- we know the real story Pinnochijoe) trying to distance himself from the Juggalos.
NOTE TO CHRIS: Either come clean now Chris- or you’ll NEVER get the chance. Little Joey’s empire is crumbling away fast- and he will make YOU the fall guy. HELPFUL HINT #1: You may want to ring up Bill Nixon and get some REAL advice. HELPFUL HINT #2: If Bill tells you to just lay-low- errrr… get another “adviser.”