Wichita Holds Job Fair For Aviation Workers

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Nearly 2,000 aviation workers have been laid off in Wichita and a couple thousand more could be getting layoff notices before the week is over.

Wichita is quickly becoming a prime location for other aerospace companies to recruit skilled workers to other states.

Even aviation workers who still have jobs attended Monday’s job fair held by aviation, aerospace and defense exhibitors. More than 800 people turned up for the event, some out of desperation because they’ve already lost their jobs and others out of fear that they will be in the next round of layoffs.

“Well I have a job at the moment. We know there are two thousand people getting furloughed in the near future. So I'm just here to cover my bases,” said Shawn LaPlante, Cessna employee.

Local companies’ losses could be other companies’ gains.

“Unfortunately, in a soft economy, good people get laid off and we’re here to get in contact with some of those people,” said Brian Weber of Moog Precision Motion Controls.

"We have a lot of need in California. And we're looking for some very talented people both on the engineering side of the house and in production and technicians,” said Kathie Korner, Northup Grumman Aerospace Systems.

Monday’s job fair not only brought companies from afar, it also brought job seekers from a distance.

“Now things have downturned quite a bit in the Detroit area so I flew from Detroit, Michigan for this event,” said Michael Horvath, mechanical engineer.

When the Wichita aircraft industry starts growing again, local companies will have to try to figure out how to lure some of these workers back to the Air Capital.

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