FAA’s Withdrawal of Collegiate Training Initiative Advantage is Baffling!!!

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ARTICLE: ATC Hiring Changes Draw Protest

That the FAA should engage in a massive hire for new controllers, who will be expected to operate the new NextGen equipment without clear definition of the tasks to be performed and the skills needed has been recently criticized. The FAA national recruitment announcement has been protested for sound reasons. A cadre of individuals took their own educational dollars to learn ATC from schools encouraged to set up training programs under the expectation that their application for future hiring preference.

They will not be afforded that advantage! One critic, Doug Williams, director of the aviation program at Baltimore County Community College, aptly said “We feel that this is the wrong way to go about this, [our students] should be given this preference, as they have [been] in the past.”

The FAA, a while ago, recognized that its training program at the Academy in Oklahoma City could well benefit from external sources and created the Collegiate Training Initiative . Based on the FAA’s policy which would prefer graduates of approved programs, 36 academic institutions created 15 different Associates degrees , 37 Bachelor level accreditation, and 3 Masters degree curricula. The AT-CTI Schools range from traditional aviation schools like Purdue University and the University of North Dakota, but the outreach extended to new institutions like InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico and Broward College as well as other reservoirs of untapped, minority talent. The academic content received accreditation from the requisite review boards; so there must have been substance.

Since many of these degrees likely included exposure to other intellectual disciplines, the graduates of these programs were and are better prepared for the unknown, perhaps more accurately as-of-yet undefined, challenges of NextGen. Even more disappointing is the consequences to the CTI schools. The FAA encouraged academic institution to study the “science” of Air Traffic in order to teach this professional skill set. Professors devoted time to examine this arcane subject; that focus may have resulted in insights about how ATC does its work and might have been a superb resource for assessing the same positions in a NextGen environment. Seeing the FAA suddenly withdraw the CTI advantage likely will result in the shrinkage of future thought by these learned teachers.

The recruitment of this generation of controllers, well before the FAA has determined what that profession will require in the future, is disappointing. The elimination of an advantage for the CTI alumni appears to be very myopic. An expert on all subjects involving the AT world, Robert Poole, heartily concurs

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