MIAMI – The US FAA needs to hire 4,300 new air traffic controllers over the next five years and the answer may come from an unexpected job reservoir: gamers.
The FAA is launching a week-long campaign to foster job applications for underrepresented categories i.e. women, minorities, or communities by featuring shared histories from current air traffic controllers by using social media, interviews, and online live conversations.
The FAA opens a short window every year to allow any eligible US citizen to apply for an air traffic controller job and this year the window will open from July 30 to August 2.
Eticing a New Generation of ATCs
An appeal will also be made by the FAA toward organizations to spread the news bout the job opening and has developed a digital toolkit to be used for the purpose.
For the campaign, the FAA has published testimonials from active controllers like Jeffrey Vincent, who said, “I have the greatest job in the world, and there is absolutely nothing else in the world I would rather be doing. Since I was 17, I wanted to be an air traffic controller. I am surrounded by so many people who have a similar passion for aviation and service to our country and who make even the toughest days rewarding.”
Vincent continued to show his passion for the job by adding, “I hope [that] sharing my story during this campaign will encourage others to know that they can achieve what I have achieved, and I strongly encourage them to apply during this period.”
Jerry Vincent started his career as an air traffic controller and is today Vice President of Traffic Services.
Another testimonial came from Teri L. Bristol, COO of Air Traffic Organization, who described her work as “Being an air traffic controller is not only important, but it’s also an interesting and dynamic career. Air travelers and the public rely on these safety professionals to oversee thousands of aircraft that travel in our national airspace system every day.”
Bristol went on to add, “Air traffic control becomes more exciting every day as innovative uses for airspace, such as drones and commercial space vehicles, become ever more prevalent.”
A Much-needed Workforce
During the fiscal year 2020, the FAA had a workforce of 14,242 controllers with actual plans to open 4,300 new positions over a five years period. Air traffic basic and specialized training, dispensed at the FAA’s Academy in Oklahoma City, will be provided for new applicants.
After graduation, the new controllers will be assigned as trainees to an FAA facility to complete training. Salary is interesting and may attain a six-figure amount plus comprehensive federal benefits.
Steve Dickson, the FAA Administrator, commented on the job openings by saying, “Having individuals with diverse backgrounds helps us find ways to continue enhancing aviation safety and efficiency. I hope more people will pursue the opportunity to become an air traffic controller as a result of this effort.”
Deputy FAA Administrator, Bradley Mims, also intervened by adding, “When it comes to achieving the FAA’s safety mission, diversity is critical. Having people with varied backgrounds and different perspectives makes us more innovative, stronger, and safer as an agency. I encourage people to apply so we can achieve our goal.”
Featured image: FAA Air Traffic Control Tower. Photo: FAA Media