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Tech Center Jobs Saved

Congress has rejected a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reorganization request that would have downsized the William J. Hughes Technical Center and eliminated local jobs, Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-2) recently announced.

Excluded from the appropriations package passed by the House last week to fund the government through September, the proposal would have adversely affected the technical center by separating its three departments and transferring some oversight to FAA headquarters.

The Hughes Technical Center, situated in the Pomona area of Egg Harbor Township, is an aviation research and development and test and evaluation facility that serves as the national scientific test base for the FAA. Its programs include research and development, test and evaluation, and verification and validation in air traffic control, communications, navigation, airports, aircraft safety, and security.

Democratic U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez had petitioned FAA Administrator Steve Dickson in a letter that the restructuring at the Hughes center could “jeopardize the integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the nation’s premier aviation research facility, which employs about 4,000 people and helps spur economic development in the region.

“Any changes that remove jobs would undermine efforts to revitalize the distressed economy of the Atlantic County region,” they wrote.

Residents of the seven southern New Jersey counties fill most of these jobs, including more than 100 from Cumberland County.

The FAA had said in a statement that its proposal to Congress “would not result in any employee job losses or require geographic relocations.”

“I am proud to announce that South Jersey jobs have been saved and, through our due diligence, the FAA’s reorganization request was rejected by Congress,” said Van Drew. “I have been working with Administrator Dickson with the support of multiple organizations to voice the concerns of the FAA workers whose jobs were threatened by this proposal.”