FAA Training for Disabled Vets

 - May 1, 2007, 5:46 AM

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with the FAA to provide veterans with disabilities on-the-job training as air traffic controllers or technicians installing and repairing ATC equipment.

Veterans will be trained at the FAA’s Academy in Oklahoma City and will complete the same training requirements as other employees in similar positions. After successfully completing the program, they will be eligible for an FAA appointment and will enter the selection process. FAA officials expect the program will contribute significantly to the agency’s air traffic controller hiring goals and will help it attain its goal of long-term career placement for veterans.

Called “A Hero to the Nation-A Hero to the Skies,” the joint effort between the FAA and the VA will enable veterans to take advantage of VA vocational rehabilitation benefits while training for ATC and airway transportation systems specialist positions. The VA’s vocational rehabilitation and employment program provides a transition for veterans with disabilities into the civilian workforce through FAA-administered on-the-job training programs.

The agency also has an existing program, aimed at recruiting former military air traffic controllers, that waives the age limit of 31 for entry into the field. It allows military retirees who worked as air traffic controllers in uniform to be hired for 10-year appointments, with an entry salary of more than $50,000 as long as they do not continue to work beyond the age of 56.

Targeting veterans and veterans’ service organizations to help fill critical jobs is part of the FAA’s 2007 resource management plan, the goal of which is to reduce the amount of time it takes to fill jobs.

“Providing disabled veterans with the job skills they need to succeed here at home after serving their country must remain a high priority for this Congress,” said Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.