Air Traffic Controllers with Severe Intellectual Disability?


People with Disabilities

Individuals with targeted or “severe” disabilities are the most under-represented segment of the Federal workforce. The People with Disabilities Program (PWD) ensures that people with disabilities have equal Federal employment opportunities. The FAA actively recruits, hires, promotes, retains, develops and advances people with disabilities.

The FAA meets the goals of the PWD Program through a variety of practices:

Targeted Disabilities
Targeted disabilities are those disabilities that the Federal government, as a matter of policy, has identified for special emphasis in recruitment and hiring. They include hearing, vision, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability and dwarfism.

This is from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Here’s what I wonder: does the FAA target disabled people with, say, “severe intellectual disability” for positions as air traffic controllers? That makes me nervous.

One of the things that has been done very well in this country, mainly by the airlines but possibly also by the FAA, is to make commercial flying extremely safe. It would be tragic to reverse that on purpose.


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