September 20, 2002








Assistant Secretary




Workforce Investment System Initiative in Support of Homeland Security As It Relates to the Federalization of the Nation's Airports

  1. Purpose. To inform the Workforce Investment System and its service providers of roles and responsibilities involved in responding to the statutorily mandated federalization of airport security. The federal government anticipates that the number of layoffs of current screeners is likely to be substantial, especially in larger airports. The President has requested that the Department of Labor ensure, through the state and local workforce system, the provision of quick, user-friendly, valuable and compassionate help to those current screeners who will lose their jobs through this process. Because the airport security function at all airports must be federalized by November 19, 2002, timely provision of meaningful services will be very important.

    In addition, the Workforce Investment System is ideally positioned to assist the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in its efforts to recruit thousands of new security screeners. To date, several of the One-Stop systems in large cities have been responsible for managing TSA job fairs with great success. The Department of Labor is pursuing a more formal partnership role with TSA to assist in recruitment efforts. More information in this regard will be forwarded in the near future.

  2. Reference.

    Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998
          Definition of Dislocated Worker
                Section 101(9)
          Definition of Rapid Response Activity
                Section 101(38)
          Statewide Rapid Response Activities
                Section 133(a) (2) and Section 134(a)(2)(A)(i)
          Establishment of One Stop Delivery System
                Section 134(c)(1)(2)(3) and (4)
          Local Fund Transfer Authority
                Section 133(b)(4)
    WIA Regulations 20 CFR
          Rapid Response Activities
                Section 665.310
          Sequence of Services
                Section 663.160,165, 240, 250, 310 (a)
                Section 661.400 and 420
    Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA)
                Sections 110 and 111.

  3. Background. On November 30, 2001, President Bush signed the ATSA. This statute provides new airport security rules and federalizes the security responsibilities at major airports. TSA, which has responsibility for civil aviation security, is currently establishing new federal security operations in the nation's commercial airports. The ATSA mandates that all baggage and passenger screeners must be uniformed federal personnel working for the TSA. It also requires that all screeners must be trained federal employees by November 19, 2002.

    The ATSA establishes the following minimum criteria for individuals to qualify for Federal screener positions. The individual must:

    1. Be a U.S. citizen.
    2. Pass a criminal background check.
    3. Be proficient in English.
    4. Pass a federal security screening personnel selection exam.

    Later in this guidance, we will provide more detailed information about the screener positions and the TSA assessment process. Over 30,000 screeners and other personnel will be required in order to complete the federalization of over 415 commercial airports throughout the United States. As of August 9, 2002, TSA had hired over 13,200 screeners, approximately one-third of those needed by the November 19, 2002, deadline.

    Presently, TSA has trained airport screeners from earlier recruitment drives. It has federalized a limited number of airports. It has also developed what it calls a "Mobile Screening Force" of 3,000 screeners which it deploys from airport to airport to handle ongoing business while the conversion takes place at a particular site. TSA also has an additional pool of 4,000 federally trained airport security screeners ready to enter the Mobile Screening Force and announced on August 9, 2002, that it is seeking another 1,000 screeners for the Mobile Force.

    The TSA Federalization Process For Airport Security Screeners

    The procedure TSA is using (in most cases) to establish the federal presence and responsibility for an airport is as follows:
    TSA announces a "federalization date" when all baggage and passenger screening activities will become the responsibility of the federal government. This announced date is usually within two weeks of the effective date of the federal takeover. On the effective date of federalization, the present contracts with private security firms expire and all current screeners are terminated. A mobile team of federal airport security screeners is brought in to continue the screening function and to assure that there is no interruption to airport screening services.

    Please Note: The impact of this federalization varies depending on the way the screener function is currently handled at a particular airport. Not all screeners are contract employees who screen full time. In some of the smaller airports, for example, a screener has a number of other functions such as baggage handler, wheelchair and transport chauffeur, and sky cap. In some cases, a screener function may be performed by an employee of the airline on which the passengers fly. It is not clear whether individuals who presently have some screening responsibility, if selected as federal screeners, will be required to work full-time or whether they will continue to be able to serve in some other capacity at the airport under some other hiring authority.

    When a federalization date is announced and the Mobile Screening Force assumes responsibility for all screening at an airport, the former private contract screeners who have applied for federal screener positions will be given a date, usually within two weeks, to report to a Federal Screener Assessment Center, which TSA sets up on site at the airport or nearby. At the assessment center, the newly terminated screeners undergo a four-day, four-phase testing and assessment process and a background check (criminal record and credit history) to determine if they are qualified to be hired as federal screeners. Those who fail to pass any one of the required test qualifications are told on the spot, in most cases, that they have failed and (depending on the circumstances of the failure) that they may reapply for a screener position in six months. At the end of the four-day assessment, individuals who qualify are offered a federal airport security screener position. This is the "employee hire date." The federalization process and the screener assessment process are addressed in more detail in one of the attachments.

    The following day (Saturday or Sunday), those who received an offer of employment attend an employee orientation meeting and receive an explanation of federal employee benefits and expectations. On Monday, they are hired and on the payroll and begin 40 hours of classroom training for their new federal position. By the following Monday, they return to the airport to begin the 60-hours of on-the-job training provided by the mobile screeners who will be supervisors of the new federal screener workforce.

    Please Note: Preliminary information developed by the TSA indicates that many current screeners will not qualify for the federal security screener positions due to lack of citizenship and other new employment requirements. It is this group of dislocated workers who will require the assistance of the One-Stop system in finding new employment. Due to the minimal level of skills required for the airport security screener positions under the private contractors, many of those who fail to qualify for federal positions are expected to have other potential barriers to employment. Those barriers may include limited English proficiency affecting the ability to find new employment, low skill levels relative to demand occupations in the labor market, and minimal understanding of the local labor market and career opportunities or how to negotiate the job search process.

  4. Responsibilities.

    1. Proactive Effort. Effective and efficient response to the workforce needs arising from airport security federalization is a clear priority of the Department of Labor and is expected to be achieved through a proactive effort on the part of the workforce system. The Department of Labor is working closely with its counterparts at the Department of Transportation and TSA to assure a smooth transition for those current employees who will not qualify for new screener positions.

      In addition to a role addressing the needs of current screeners who will be laid off, a number of employer service opportunities are arising for local One-Stops to provide assistance in the recruitment of new screeners -- either through coordinated efforts with local TSA hiring personnel at airports when job fairs are conducted or through the provision of additional information to individual One-Stop applicants seeking employment opportunities.

    2. Services to Dislocated Workers.

      1. Rapid Response Activities. State workforce systems are expected to ensure that effective Rapid Response services are delivered to the potentially affected workers.

        Please Note: It is important that Rapid Response teams are aware of special TSA funds received by the contractors currently providing airport security screeners. These special funds were provided by TSA to the contractors in order for the contractors to be able to offer retention bonuses to workers who remain on the job until the federalization takes place regardless of whether they are likely to be offered federal employment. While the contractors may decide how to distribute the retention funds -- to whom and when -- the funds cannot be used for any other purpose and unused funds must be returned to TSA. This is an important area of inquiry with the employer during the preliminary planning for Rapid Response. To the extent possible the employer should be encouraged to make this information available to the workers early in the information process. Expectations related to the State Rapid Response activities are attached.

        Relationship to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) Requirements. While there appears to be no applicable exception in the WARN Act that would alleviate the need for advanced notice, at the present time, there has been great variation among the private security contractors with respect to giving the statutorily required 60-day WARN notice to the current screeners. It is important to note that receipt of a WARN notice by the State Dislocated Worker Unit is not the only criteria for activating Rapid Response.

        Public Announcement. All State Rapid Response staff should consider that a public announcement (WIA Section 101(9)(B) (ii)) has occurred for the purposes of initiating Rapid Response activities. Contractors have been aware since the passage of the aviation security legislation, that their employees would be terminated from employment on or before November 18, 2002. State Rapid Response should not wait for receipt of a WARN Notice to reach out to the contractors and current screeners and their supervisors to provide appropriate information and services.

        Secondary Affected Workers. Rapid Response and the local One-Stop Career Centers will need to determine if this federalization activity has, or will have, a ripple effect on other workers or positions at the airport in order to determine if additional workers are dislocated as a result of the federalization (such as contractor clerical and other support staff, uniform cleaning companies, etc.).

        Other Effects of the Dislocation. It is also important to determine if new openings will occur in cases where screeners who held multifunction positions in the past will no longer be available for other airport functions-such as transportation assistance, baggage handling, etc.

      2. One-Stop Service Planning. Through their role in the early Rapid Response employer contact meeting, local One-Stop staff will have the opportunity to inquire about service planning needs. It will be especially important to establish the numbers of current contract screeners with characteristics such as lack of U.S. citizenship and English language skill deficits. The ages and general abilities of those not likely to meet TSA hiring criteria is also important information for planning. This data will permit local Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop service providers to anticipate additional staffing or contract needs; quickly review present service mix plans and begin to make appropriate adjustments as necessary; and determine the need for additional financial assistance from state and federal sources.

      3. Layoff Prior to Rapid Response Employee Meeting Where the federalization of an airport occurs prior to a Rapid Response orientation meeting with the potentially affected workers, the Rapid Response team (working with the local One-Stop) should implement an effective outreach effort to ensure that all workers not offered federal employment are aware of all workforce investment services available to them. This outreach may take a number of forms (newspaper advertisements, special mailings from employee lists provided by the contractors, contacts through the Unemployment Insurance system, etc.) in order to contact the affected workers and to provide further activities. The form of the outreach and the scope of the services -- a series of informational meetings, targeted workshops, a worker transition center, or absorption into the present One-Stop service structure-should be made at the discretion of the Rapid Response transition team in consultation with the One-Stop staff.

      4. Access to Full Sequence of Services. Because a number of the workers who will not qualify for federal screening positions might be characterized as low skilled, it is important to ensure that the One-Stop assistance offered is responsive to the individual worker needs and, where appropriate, includes not only staff-assisted core services, but also intensive and training services. Given the skill sets required for the previous contract jobs, many laid off screeners may not have skills that are competitive in the local labor market, especially if the labor market is absorbing a large number of workers with similarly low skills.

        Please Note: WIA does not require any waiting time between when core services, commence and when intensive services and training services are made available. When an initial assessment (staff- assisted core service) of an individual clearly indicates that the individual is unlikely to find reemployment without additional assistance, the individual may move directly to intensive services for further assessment, career counseling and development of an individual employment plan. Any of these intensive services may be used to document the need for training services. A discussion and consultation may then take place. It is feasible for this to occur in one visit to the One-Stop Career Center. Further testing in support of determining an individual's ability to successfully complete a particular training course of interest to him/her can follow.

        As described earlier, individuals going through the TSA screener assessment and hiring center are told at various points in the process if they have not passed a particular phase. When this occurs, further consideration of them for TSA positions ends. Because of this, it may be useful to approach TSA assessment center directors to propose an onsite One-Stop presence to provide immediate referral information to individuals who are not successful in completing the assessment process.

      5. Resources Available. They include the following:

        • Local formula-allocated dislocated worker funds

        • State Rapid Response 25 percent funds

        • Governor's 15 percent funds

        • Local formula allocated adult funds. Laid off workers may qualify for services as adults or dislocated workers depending on the local WIB policy regarding priority for services and the income levels of the individual workers. In addition, in accordance with WIA section 133(b)(4), the local area may transfer up to 20 percent of its adult funds to the dislocated worker funding stream. The Department will also consider requests to waive the 20 percent transfer limitation to some alternative percentage (with sufficient appropriate documentation).

        • National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds

          Existing 9/11 Airport Worker Dislocation National Emergency Grants. If funds remain unexpended and unobligated to participant individual employment plans, the state and local area may request a modification to serve airport workers dislocated by the federalization of the airports in response to the 9/11 events. All guidelines for preparation of NEG modifications will apply.

          Application for New NEG Funds to serve the affected current screener population that is not selected for the new federal positions. Keeping in mind that these layoffs are occurring early in the new program year, the state and local area should carefully review their present service strategy and funding availability prior to submitting an application for PY 2002 NEG funds. All present NEG application requirements will apply.

          Please Note: There is additional information required in the NEG grant application process if a local area and the state determine it is necessary to request reimbursement for costs incurred prior to NEG approval.

    3. Services to the Transportation Security Administration.

      1. Information Dissemination. ETA will provide the Transportation Security Administration with ongoing information about the availability of state Rapid Response and local One-Stop services for their newsletter "Transportation Weekly," which is provided to all airports and screeners each week. ETA articles will provide information about accessing Rapid Response services, ETA's Toll- Free number and the One-Stop Service Locator. Later articles may discuss such issues as the possible effect of quitting early on eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits; availability of literacy and ESL services for individuals who are unable to pass English proficiency tests; using job market information and self-assessment tools available in One-Stop Career Centers and other services.

      2. Provision of Rapid Response Contact Lists.

      3. National and Multi-Jurisdictional Recruitment. Activities will be conducted both nationally through listings on America's Job Bank as well as through local One-Stop Career Centers where staff establish a relationship with the Transportation Security Administration Airport Security Director responsible for their area's airport. Where several workforce investment areas are present in the airport employee commuting area, it is important to ensure that recruitment efforts and information about activities are coordinated. While such coordination is a local matter, one approach might be to have the local workforce area in which the airport is located take the lead responsibility for making these coordination efforts successful.

    The Department of Labor is working closely with the Department of Transportation to make the appropriate information regarding local recruiting/referral contacts available. As mentioned earlier, One Stop Career Center staff can be of great assistance to TSA recruitment staff conducting job fairs in various cities. The present schedule for job fairs for the next month is listed on the TSA Web site.

    Information Available on the TSA Web site

    The TSA Web site ( posts the necessary information for individuals to apply online, and lists the airports for which recruiting is presently underway, as well as a schedule of job fairs to be held around the country. A toll-free number for interested job candidates is also included (1-877-631-JOBS). In addition, information can be found regarding the scheduled TSA job fairs scheduled for many major cities over the next month. TSA has already conducted job fairs in a number of cities. These cities include: Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Denver, West Palm Beach, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Boston, Minneapolis, Newark, and Las Vegas. In several instances, local One-Stop staff worked closely with the TSA recruitment contractors, nd in several cities provided sites for the informational meetings. At the present time, TSA is requiring that all applicants begin their process by applying either online, through the TSA Web site or through their 1-800 number, which connects to an automated telephone line allowing application. Individuals who do not make this first broad cut are notified online or on the automated line immediately.

  5. Action Required.

    1. Planning. State and local workforce investment staff should evaluate present rapid response policies and make appropriate response plans based on this TEN. In most instances, states that have not initiated Rapid Response will want to initiate contacts with the security contractors at the airports listed to determine the number of workers for which to plan, including the identification of any workers with limited English proficiency who may require language assistance and translation.

      The Governor may establish a threshold for providing rapid response services. Frequently, such a policy is based upon a profile of the state's employers. States with few large employers may set a threshold for Rapid Response that recognizes that many layoffs smaller than those triggering a WARN notice may have a substantial impact on a local community and require state assistance to address worker and employer needs.

      Local Workforce Investment Boards should review their present plans and policies regarding large layoffs and ensure that the local One-Stop service providers are prepared with adequate resources to meet the needs of this substantial layoff (staffing, hours of operation, training funds, etc.) and determine, in consultation with the state, the availability of additional resources (if necessary) from the state itself or by making application for a federal National Emergency Grant.

    2. Immediate Contact with TSA and Airport Contractors. Local One-Stop staff should make appropriate contact (if they have not already done so) with the airport security director and the local TSA recruitment and hiring contractor to initiate assistance in recruitment of suitable applicants and in support of local job fairs. More information will be available with regard to this collaboration in the near future; in the meantime, please check with your ETA Regional Office for information and operational recommendations from other One-Stop staff that have assisted with the TSA job fairs. Please note that the job fairs are strictly informational. All applications must be made by phone or on-line. In some instances, however, computers have been made available to individuals interested in applying at the site of a job fair.

    3. Monthly Progress Reporting. In order to monitor the progress and impact of the workforce system's involvement in serving those dislocated from airport jobs, as well as in assisting with TSA recruitment efforts, ETA is requesting that states provide their Regional Offices with a monthly update of their progress. The Department of Labor is interested in informally evaluating the extent and timeliness of the services provided by the workforce investment system during this time of unique national need. To the extent possible, it will be extremely helpful to provide whatever data is available or can be determined through methods including informed estimates.

      Each monthly progress report on this initiative should provide overall activity by the state and information based on each airport served. The report should be addressed to Dennis Lieberman ( or via fax on 202-693-3149) with copies to your appropriate ETA Administrator. The Department of Labor anticipates that these numbers will be cumulative over several months. Each monthly report should include (to the extent possible):

      Overall state information:

      • Total number of airports served
      • Total number of dislocated workers served
      • Total number of individuals referred to TSA jobs

      Information by airport in the state:

      • Name/Location of airport
      • Date of federalization (planned or completed)
      • Rapid Response activities
      • Number of affected workers
      • Date of initial employer contact
      • Date of first Rapid Response orientation meeting
      • Number attending Rapid Response sessions
      • Number receiving core services
      • Number referred to One-Stop Services beyond core services
        • Number receiving intensive services (to extent known or estimated)
        • Number receiving training services (to extent known or estimated)
        • Number receiving basic education/GED (to extent known or estimated)
        • Number receiving bilingual education (to extent known or estimated)
      • Participation in TSA recruitment activities
        • Assisted in recruitment and referral
        • Assisted with TSA job fair
        • Provided access to computers for online screener applications
        • Number of individuals served

    4. Use of Newly Created Internet Collaborative Work Space. ETA has established a collaborative Web site for Rapid Response and One-Stop professionals working on the TSA dislocations and recruitment efforts. This Web site, which is password protected and limited to authorized users, will serve as a vehicle to facilitate communication between various states and federal staff. Documents can be posted and read by all participants, and a message board is available to use for discussion purposes for any number of issues. The site will house an address book that will contain names and contact information for everyone who uses the site, and users can generate email to all or a number of the users. The site will also feature a calendar for any events that are upcoming as well as a section to post any announcements important for the site's users to obtain. We anticipate this site to be the central point of contact and communication for all Rapid Response activities related to the Airport Security Transition across the nation.

      In order to be granted access to the site, please provide your name and email address to Jeff Ryan ( or 202-693-3546), and he will provide you with instructions on accessing the site.

  6. Inquiries. For additional information regarding this TEN, questions may be addressed to Dennis Lieberman, Director, Division of Adults and Dislocated Workers, Office of Adult Services, at 202-693-3375 or

  7. Attachments
    1. Expectations for Rapid Response
    2. Anticipated Questions and Answers
    3. TSA assessment and hiring process
    4. Description of TSA screener federal hiring qualifications