FAA Launches Campaign to Hire Workers with 'Severe Intellectual' and 'Psychiatric' Disabilities as Part of Diversity Push Initiative

The FAA, as mentioned on its website, acknowledges that people with "severe" mental and physical disabilities constitute an under-represented segment within the federal workforce.

The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking to hire people with "severe intellectual" disabilities, psychiatric issues, and other mental and physical conditions as part of a diversity and inclusion hiring initiative, per the agency's website. The last update to the FAA's diversity hiring policies was made on March 23, 2022.

The FAA, which includes positions like air traffic controllers, is keen on hiring people with hearing and vision impairments, and also those with missing limbs, partial or complete paralysis. The initiative is part of the FAA's "Diversity and Inclusion" hiring plan, which claims "diversity is integral to achieving FAA's mission of ensuring safe and efficient travel across our nation and beyond."

Campaign to Hit Woke DEI Targets

Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration X

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

The FAA is tasked with regulating civil aviation under the leadership of Secretary Pete Buttigieg's Department of Transportation.

Alaska Airlines
The window of the Alaska Airlines flight after it was blown out mid-air X

The agency, which currently has approximately 47,000 employees, has entrusted John P. Benison with the implementation of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan.

Benison, holding the official title of Assistant Administrator, Office of Civil Rights, is tasked with ensuring equal opportunity and upholding diversity principles within the FAA. His role involves overseeing all matters related to civil rights, equal opportunity, and diversity within the agency.

The FAA, as mentioned on its website, acknowledges that people with "severe" mental and physical disabilities constitute an under-represented segment within the federal workforce.

Alaska Airlines
A photo from inside the Alaska Airlines flight after a part of the fuselage blew out mid-flight X

The FAA "actively supports diversity through various associations, programs, coalitions, and initiatives, emphasizing the importance of its diverse workforce."

"Diversity is integral to achieving FAA's mission of ensuring safe and efficient travel across our nation and beyond," the agency states.

Airline Industry in Focus

In recent days, heightened attention has been directed toward the FAA and the airline industry following an incident on January 5, where a plug door on a Boeing 737 Max 9 blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight.

Boeing 737
A Boeing 737 Norwegian Pixabay/Tommy Olsson

In response, the FAA issued a grounding order for all 737 MAX 9 planes and is conducting a thorough inspection along with extensive maintenance work.

In the aftermath of the incident, the FAA announced plans to enhance its scrutiny of Boeing, which involves auditing Boeing's 737 Max 9 jetliner production line and the companies responsible for supplying parts to the airline manufacturer.

Despite this, some social media commentators and public figures have criticized airlines and manufacturers, claiming that their emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives has allegedly compromised the safety of air travel.

"Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety?," Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on X last week. "That is actually happening."

"The DEI Rot In The Airline Industry Is Way Worse Than You Think," Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh wrote in an op-ed last week.

Detractors of this narrative have countered the argument that prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives has compromised safety in travel. Civil rights groups, for instance, have strongly criticized figures like Musk, describing his tweet as "abhorrent and pathetic."

The FAA emphasizes that it diligently seeks and evaluates qualified candidates from diverse sources for a wide array of positions. The agency has a substantial workforce, consisting of tens of thousands of people engaged in diverse roles, each with rigorous qualifications tailored to the specific position.

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, the chairman of Do No Harm, an advocacy group for healthcare protection, has shared the view that both the aviation and healthcare industries bear a responsibility for ensuring safety.

While acknowledging this shared responsibility, he cautioned against lowering entry standards for these fields. Goldfarb emphasized that people with disabilities who can effectively perform tasks should not encounter discrimination.

Alaska Airlines
Scene from inside the Alaska Airlines flight after a window blew out mid-flight X

"The aviation industry has a responsibility for traveler safety just as the health care industry has a responsibility for patient safety. These responsibilities outweigh other factors when considering applicants to work in those fields. People with disabilities who can successfully complete the task should never face discrimination," said Goldfarb, a retired professor and the former associate dean for curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

"Unfortunately," Goldfarb said, identity politics is "creating opportunities for so-called oppressed groups by lowering standards for entry into those fields and thereby endangering the safety of those which it's designed to serve. Some endeavors simply do not lend themselves to identity politics," he added.

The FAA's website details that certain managers have the authority to hire disabled individuals and veterans using an "On-the-Spot hiring process," contingent upon the submission of the necessary documentation.