You’re at 30,000 feet in a line of planes waiting to land on a runway that’s also used for takeoffs. Do you know who your air traffic controllers are? More importantly, does the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) know who they are?
A mistake by one air traffic controller can kill hundreds. But colleges don’t offer this field of study, and the air space available for “practice” is hard to come by.
Management Professor Michelle Dean is helping the FAA hire smarter. The agency is faced with replacing about one-sixth of the aging air traffic control workforce as controllers hired after the 1981 strike begin to exceed the mandatory age limit.
Dean’s focus on matching the life experiences of applicants with those of demonstrably successful controllers can help the FAA screen potential controllers efficiently and economically.
Applied to other industries, her research could become an important tool in finding the right people for high-stakes jobs where lives are on the line.
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