Monday, August 04, 2014

Hire qualified applicants (letter)

Letters to the Editor
August 04, 2014


I am writing about my concerns related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry said, “One of my most frustrating experiences during my service in Congress has been the pervasive skills gap facing workers and employers. At the same time that millions of Americans remain unemployed, countless local employers have told me about their difficulty finding qualified workers. This is a clear reminder that effective education and workforce development opportunities are critical to making the American economy healthy again.”

But, here is an excerpt from an article in the Chicago Tribune: “More than half of the latest batch of air-traffic controller job offers nationwide went to people with no aviation experience as part of a program designed to expand hiring among the general public. 837 of the roughly 1,600 new controller slots went to people without an aviation background. For almost the last 25 years, until the off-the-street hiring process was implemented in February, the FAA recruited controllers heavily from among military veterans possessing aviation experience and from the 36 FAA-approved college aviation programs from across the U.S. These two groups of candidates, who previously had the inside track to become air-traffic controllers, must now jump through the same hoops as candidates with no aviation background, and the first whittling of potential control candidates centers on a controversial biographical assessment.”

In my opinion, these two articles seem to say two different things. It seems like qualified workers are being jumped over just so a company can look better by saying it is hiring more of the “general public.” I was under the impression that a person is offered a job based on his experience and skill, not on his ethnicity or background. Are employers really not finding qualified workers? Or, are they just not finding a “diverse” selection of qualified workers? If you want to strengthen the American economy, give jobs to the people who are actually qualified for the position, regardless of whether they are white or black, Asian or Latino, or male or female.

If the FAA can open its doors to the general public and hire off the streets, why don’t our local companies and businesses just hire anyone who is unemployed? If the FAA seems to put people with college degrees and specialized experience into the same category as those without degrees, what is the point of going to college? If this is the case, why doesn’t every company and business just pick and choose from the “general public” until they have all the so-called “qualified” workers they need? If unqualified selection is good enough for the FAA, why isn’t it good enough for all federal agencies?

With air-travel the most utilized form of transportation in the world, are we tossing safety aside just so we can diversify and save money?

— Gregory Howell, Springfield Township

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