As incredulous as it seems, the FAA provided secret code words to students who were part of the Black Caucus of Federal Aviation Employees. When placed in their resume, they essentially served as a flag that could push them to the front of line for job consideration, quite possibly at the expense of candidates who could be considerably more qualified for the role.
According to reports, one of the signals they used to fast-track resumes was the answer to a question in the job application about the subject in high school in which candidates received their lowest grades. Answering this question with the word “science” apparently was enough to earn greater consideration.
A letter sent by the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees’ (NBCFAE) Shelton G. Snow that recently resurfaced on X explained that the FAA’s human resources department would be scanning in resumes and would group them based on certain keywords, with a handful of specific words flagging a resume and “giving you the advantage over thousands of resumes that may flood the system.”
The email said that a list of such words was attached, and recipients were encouraged to keep it under wraps so that others would not find out about it and use the same code words.
The email was part of a controversial cheating scandal in which Air Traffic Control Specialist applicants who were rejected sued the FAA after it abruptly changed its hiring standards as part of a diversity effort following years of lobbying by the NBCFAE for more inclusivity in its hiring practices. As part of their case, the rejected candidates filed a Freedom of Information Act request for emails sent between the FAA and NBCFAE officers; the FAA later filed a motion admitting it could not recover “missing” emails needed for the case.
One of the lawyers representing the rejected applicants told FOX Business at the time: "It's obvious to me they are hiding embarrassing information."
An associate member of the NBCFAE, Moranda Reilly, was among those who received the email. She said it included code words that “…would help identify us. Key words the system would pick up. It was a kind of a way for our resumes to be picked and chosen. We were told not to share this information with anybody outside NBCFAE.”
Fast-forward to 2024, and the effects of the pushes for diversity hires at the expense of knowledge and experience are being felt acutely by passengers and the industry itself, with numerous safety lapses and near-misses on both the runways and in the skies being attributed to human error.
In contrast to ten years ago, when the emails with the code words were sent, the whole industry is now openly embracing diversity as if hiring people based on how diverse they are rather than merit is something to be celebrated. It’s gotten so out of hand that the FAA is now actively recruiting employees who suffer from “severe intellectual” disabilities as well as other physical, mental and psychiatric conditions under a “Diversity and Inclusion” hiring plan outlined on their website.
Right now, the bar couldn’t be set much lower for the people who are responsible for the safety of air travel in the U.S.
Sources for this article include: