Airport job recruiting going online

The Transportation Security Administration has awarded NCS Pearson Inc. a $103.4 million contract to provide a Web-based system for the recruitment and placement of airport personnel.

TSA plans to hire more than 30,000 federal security workers — including screeners and law enforcement officers — to meet the mandates of the Aviation Transportation Security Act signed by President Bush in November 2001.

"I want to underscore my commitment to hiring the best and the brightest," Norman Mineta, the secretary of the Transportation Department said at a news conference March 4.

NCS Pearson will post job applications using an automated process that recruits locally but is managed nationally. It also will run candidate-testing centers, oversee selection and support human resources.

"Today marks another major step in the recruitment and deployment of a modern, well-trained and highly qualified federal security workforce to provide world-class security and customer service at airports around the country," Mineta said.

TSA will deploy the workforce to the nation's 429 commercial airports by Nov. 19. Salaries will range from $23,000 to $40,000, he said.

Meanwhile, 15 pilot sites have begun testing technologies such as biometrics. Boston's Logan International Airport, for instance, is testing a facial-recognition program that connects security checkpoints and federal counterterrorism databases.

"We're looking all across the spectrum," John Magaw, DOT's undersecretary for security, said at the conference.

Transportation is working with a number of other agencies, including the Defense Department, the Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to share information, Mineta said.

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