Monday, January 10, 2011
Three airplane makers are holding a job fair in Wichita this week and 2,200 jobs are up for grabs. The job fair will include Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
It's not a great sign, but it's a sign no less. Three of the major aircraft players in the country will be in Wichita this week looking for workers. Unfortunately, many of the jobs aren't in Wichita, but for those who have been out of work for a year or more, they just might take anything.
"It's real tough out there right now," said James McDuffee, who was looking for work at the Workforce Alliance Center in Wichita. "Nobody's hiring and if they are, it's minimum wage. But you gotta take what you can get sometimes."
Hopefully with today's news, workers like McDuffee will have a chance at being employed again soon. Tuesday and Wednesday, Spirit, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are coming together to look for a total of 2,200 workers.
Spirit is looking to hire 200 workers right here in Wichita. Boeing is looking to hire 1,000 workers at their Puget Sound facility and Lockheed is looking to hire another 1,000 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In an emailed statement to KAKE News, Spirit's Ken Evans was cautious about the hiring.
"Some positions are backfilling after retirements. Others are in response to upcoming rate increases already announced by customers," Evans said "Further hiring plans will depend on many factors, including the new 787 schedule which hasn't been announced by Boeing."
Meanwhile, the Workforce Alliance Center in Downtown Wichita is urging laid off aviation workers to do as much as possible to expand their skill set to include other areas like health care or information technology.
"We have so many aviation workers right now that all have that aviation background that just a little bit of training above and beyond what some of those have can put you at the top for positions," explained Kimberly Cronister.
The Boeing and Lockheed positions will require a move away from Wichita, however.
"There are certain areas in certain parts of the country that are hiring," said Michael Burleigh, I-A-M local business representative, "so we want to make sure we get some of our people back to work. Right now, the market here in this town is not very good, so we want to help our people find jobs someplace else."
The job fair is two days. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Machinist Union Hall near I-235 and Meridian starting at 9am.