By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media
Recent college grads and job seekers under the age of 31 have a week to fly into a job applicant pool for a well-paying gig with the country’s national aviation authority.
The Federal Aviation Administration is accepting applications from entry-level candidates across the U.S. for air traffic controller positions until August 15.
And at least two Congressmen are looking to increase African-American outreach for the jobs. In the spring Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Sean Patrick Maloney of New York introduced House Resolution 5292, the Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act of 2016.
Among other things, the bipartisan legislation, which is currently making the rounds in the nation’s capital, aims at improving hiring and staffing of air traffic controllers at the FAA by directly notifying air traffic controller vacancies to Historically Black Colleges and other minority institutions.
Curbelo said in a May statement, “I am very pleased that this bill will also encourage the hiring of students graduating from minority-serving institutions.”
In a statement, the FAA said applicants for the position of Air Traffic Control Specialist-Trainee need to set-up an account on www.USAJobs.gov as soon as possible in order to apply for the highly competitive position.
“The agency expects more than 25,000 applications for approximately 1,400 positions during the seven-day job opening,” the statement read.
Good jobs are something black college grads across the nation are in short supply of. A 2014 study by the Center for Economic Policy Research revealed 12.4 percent of black college graduates between ages 22 – 27 are unemployed. For all college grads in the same age range the rate was 5.6 percent.
Over 20,000 FAA jobs will be open within the next three to five years across the country. Some of the positions including the air traffic controller role, pay upwards to $70,000 to $100,000 a year.
Air traffic controllers guide pilots, their planes and 2.2 million daily passengers from taxi to takeoff, through the air and back safely on the ground again. The FAA statement said air traffic controllers receive a wide range of training in controlling and separating live air traffic within designated airspace at and around an air traffic control tower, radar approach control facility, or air route traffic control center.
“As a new ATCS, you will spend your first several months of employment in an intensive training program at the FAA Academy located in Oklahoma City,” the statement reads.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in the newsletter the aviation authority “provides the safest, most efficient airspace system in the world and we need exceptional people to support our mission.”
Requirements for the job include being a U.S. citizen, being 31 or younger on Aug. 15, passing a medical examination, security investigation and the FAA air traffic pre-employment tests. Candidates must speak English clear enough to be understood over communications equipment and have three years of progressively responsible work experience or a Bachelor’s degree or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years. Job inquirers must also be ready to move to an FAA facility based on agency staffing needs.
In fact, air traffic controller is a career in the in-demand fields of accounting, business, computer science and engineering, which have lower unemployment rates. Glassdoor, a jobs and recruiting website, said plenty of top-notch jobs are appearing in the technology, finance and professional services industries.
Glassdoor and UC San Diego Extension recently conducted surveys that determined what the hottest jobs are based on career opportunities, base salary and open positions. The jobs listed included accountants, data scientist, human resource manager, marketing manager, nurse practitioner, software developers, market research analysts, and computer network architects.
Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean of UC San Diego Extension, said in a statement that the careers show both the value of a college degree and also the need for specialized training as technology is continuously reshaping the job market and the economy.
“As Marc Andreessen recently opined, ‘Software is eating the world,'” Walshok said. “That fact is true in almost every top emerging career whether it be health care or marketing or financial analysis. It’s not enough to just know the fundamentals; you have to use technology to provide new insights.”