WICHITA, Kan. -- The Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas are hosting a series of meetings to let hundreds of recently laid off aviation workers know about job search resources available to them.
As many as 1500 workers who were laid off by Beechcraft/Textron or Learjet in the last year may be eligible for the assistance in finding a new job.
"We are hoping to get this information out to these workers because not all of them may be aware they are eligible," said Justin Powell, Regional Operations Manager with the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The meetings are being held Monday through Wednesday this week at the National Aviation Training Center at 4004 N. Webb Rd.
At a meeting Monday afternoon, Wichita's Amy Kruse was sitting in the front row. Kruse, who worked in accounts payable, was laid off by Textron April 23rd.
"It doesn't always hit right away. It takes a little bit of time and then it sinks in: I'm starting over," Kruse said.
But as she starts over, things are looking up. She got engaged at Botanica over the weekend. On Monday, she was at one of the Workforce Center meetings and feeling encouraged by the resources available.
"(I'm here) to see if I can get some assistance in taking some classes since I've been in accounting for a while now. I'd like to get my skill set up so I can be more competitive," Kruse said. "Any resources that I can utilize will help me financially, which helps me emotionally as well as keeps the bills paid while I'm looking for a job."
During the presentation, she learned about the many tools available.
"They are eligible for case management services, training services, classroom training, on-the-job training, a registered apprenticeship, and wage subsidies," Powell said.
For those eligible, these services are free through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. That's thanks to three petitions that were filed with the U.S. Department of Labor last December.
Those who attend the meetings can be paired with a case manager to help them get started.
"By meeting with a case manager after the meeting, they are able to get more information specific to their situation," Powell said.
It's an opportunity that Amy Kruse and others there Monday said they couldn't wait to take advantage of.
"I'm ready, very much ready to get back into it and feel like things are moving along again and that I have that structure again," Kruse said.
The information meetings for laid-off Textron aviation workers are:
- Tuesday, June 3 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The informational meetings for laid-off Learjet workers are:
- Tuesday, June 3 at 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, June 4 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Attending a meeting is not required to qualify for the resources available. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you are encouraged to visit your local Workforce Center to get started.
To be eligible for the job search resources, a worker must have been laid off on or after the following dates:
- Beechcraft/Textron - Feb. 15, 2013
- Learjet - Feb. 6, 2013
- Cessna - Jan. 8, 2013