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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress in meeting congressionally mandated staffing goals for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, and maintenance technicians, focusing on its: (1) employment qualifications; and (2) recruitment, hiring, and initial training programs.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation To improve FAA recruitment and retention of controllers, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop a systematic and coordinated national recruiting strategy targeted to those individuals most likely to have the potential to be a controller. As part of such a strategy, FAA could, for example, specify standard minimum requirements for the frequency of testing and updating controller registers, canvassing schools, and job fairs.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

FAA has established a national recruiting program and is modifying its controller screening program. FAA hired a contractor to do a comprehensive study on recruitment. Out of this study came the appointment of a national recruitment coordinator, designated in FAA headquarters, and a prototype recruiter program has been developed. FAA plans to substantially increase the number of recruiters.
Department of Transportation To improve FAA recruitment and retention of controllers, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to integrate the results of the Civil Aeromedical Institute's research on Academy failures and withdrawals into its training and guidebook for interviewers so that they can better assess an applicant's qualifications.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

FAA is using a new screening process to help screen applicants by finding and disclosing problems in backgrounds that would affect peak performance. FAA will incorporate research on Academy failures and withdrawals into recruitment strategies and recruiter training instead of interviewers handbooks.
Federal Aviation Administration To the extent practicable, the Administrator, FAA, should, consistent with the agency's own placement policy, place Academy graduates at field facilities according to their performance during the screening program.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Not Implemented.

FAA does not plan to implement this recommendation. FAA has instituted a policy of placing Academy graduates at their location of choice rather than on the basis of test scores during screening.

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