New TSA training program aims to improve career options

New TSA training program aims to improve career options
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Tuesday introduced an employee training program aimed at providing security officers with additional growth opportunities at the agency.

The move comes after TSA's battles with low worker morale that contributed to screening officers leaving the agency.

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The new program will be fully enacted starting Aug. 5 and is meant to provide TSA employees with additional upward mobility and training options.

“We are committed to investing in our transportation security officers by giving them the tools they need to grow in their TSA careers,” Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

In 2013, the agency had 47,147 security officers working full time. By 2018, that figure had dropped to over 43,000.

As part of the training initiative, the agency will allow employees at the second-lowest pay level to pursue an on-the-job coaching opportunity to mentor new recruits. Meanwhile, the agency’s entry-level officers will spend time working at an airport before moving onto a second phase of more technical training on how to operate the scanners and X-rays and how to perform pat downs.

The previous training structure had entry-level employees participating in all aspects of training in a two-week phase.

“An effective workforce must be properly trained, coached and evaluated, these are key ingredients in preserving a motivated skilled workforce dedicated to executing our mission of protecting the traveling public,” Pekoske said.