Hoeven Working to Advance UND as First-In-Nation Program for ATC Graduates to Move Directly Into Workforce

Senator Working with UND, FAA to Address Air Traffic Controller Shortage

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven and leaders from the University of North Dakota’s (UND) John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences today announced their intention to partner with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address the air traffic controller (ATC) shortage. Specifically, Hoeven is advocating for UND to be the first university in the nation where ATC program graduates can move directly into the workforce rather than attending the FAA’s ATC Academy in Oklahoma:

  • Hoeven is working with UND to apply for the FAA’s Enhanced Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program, which will authorize institutions to offer the same curriculum provided by the FAA Academy.
    • UND is currently a CTI program, which allows graduates to skip the first five weeks of initial qualification training at the FAA Academy.
    • Under the enhanced program, graduates will immediately be eligible for hire and to begin localized training at an air traffic facility.
    • This will provide a more streamlined process for qualified air traffic controllers to help meet growing demand at airports across the nation.
    • Graduates will still be required to pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) exam and meet medical and security requirements.
    • The application period opens in April 2024, with the goal implementing the enhancements at selected institutions for the fall 2024 semester.
  • Hoeven recently made the case to FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker for UND to lead the way in this new initiative.
    • The senator outlined to Whitaker UND’s position as a world leader in aviation research, education and training.
  • This builds on Hoeven’s previous efforts to address ATC shortages, as well as initiatives he has worked to establish and fund at UND, including:

“UND is the number one aviation school in the nation, with more than 500 faculty and staff and 2,000 students creating a world-renowned center for aviation education, research and training. We made UND the first UAS CTI school in 2020 and the first Vets2Wings program in 2022. With our ATC Hiring Reform Act, we enhanced UND’s ability to expedite ATC training. As a CTI school, UND ATC graduates skip the first five weeks of initial qualification training at the FAA Academy, and now UND has the opportunity to again lead the way as the first school to send ATC graduates directly into the workforce,” said Hoeven. “This first-in-the-nation partnership opportunity at UND is all about getting graduates into the workforce quicker. By empowering this world-class aviation school to enhance its ATC training program, we can remove bottlenecks and better meet demand for qualified air traffic controllers in North Dakota and across the nation.”