According to its website, the FAA claims, "Individuals with targeted or 'severe' disabilities are the most under-represented segment of the Federal workforce."
Under its People with Disabilities Program, the agency says it "actively recruits, hires, promotes, retains, develops and advances people with disabilities." The FAA targets the following disabilities as a matter of policy: "Hearing, vision, missing extremities, partial paralysis, complete paralysis, epilepsy, severe intellectual disability, psychiatric disability and dwarfism."
The FAA told Fox News that it "seeks qualified candidates from as many sources as possible, all of whom must meet rigorous qualifications that of course will vary by position."
Its website reveals that those with disabilities or those who have a veteran status can also be hired via the non-competitive, "on-the-spot" process as long as a manager files the proper paperwork, thus giving them preferential treatment in the hiring process.
The aviation industry has received further scrutiny from the public in the wake of an Alaska Airlines door plug being blown off the side of its two-month-old Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft causing it to make an emergency landing.
In a post on X, tech mogul Elon Musk asked, "Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritize DEI hiring over your safety?" He added, "That is actually happening."
"People will die due to DEI," Musk said.
Musk's comments came in response to a report that revealed in 2022 that Boeing began prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as part of its hiring process in 2022.
The Alaskan Airlines situation came on the heels of a shocking report in December, which showed there were 19 instances where planes nearly crashed into each other at airports in the first ten months of 2023.
This was the highest number since 2016. The report noted that the FAA has struggled to hire more air traffic controllers, and as the number of flights a day has gone up, the number of fully certified air traffic controllers is down 1,000 people from ten years ago.
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