It's difficult for any news stories about aviation in the U.S. to surprise us these days, with air travel falling apart at the seams thanks to diversity pushes, poor training, vaccine mandates, woke cross-dressing CEOs and other issues. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplying black students with code words so their resumes get pushed to the front of the line in hiring is one shocking story that has recently resurfaced as part of the broader conversation about the dire state of American aviation.
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.