Spirit Job Fair Draws Thousands Of Job Seekers

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

For months Donald Cody has searched for a new job.

Cody has 10 years of experience working the assembly line at companies such as Cessna, Raytheon, and Boeing. But he was laid off February 2nd.

"It's hard," Cody said. "The economy has really made it hard for a lot of people."

When he heard Spirit was hosting a job fair looking to fill hundreds of blue-collar jobs, he jumped at the opportunity.

"I'd love to work for spirit," Cody said. "I think Spirit is a good company."

The company is on a hiring spree thanks to ever increasing demand.

"We're getting asked to build 737's and 787's faster than we've ever done before," Spirit spokesman Ken Evans said.

The job fair at Spirit drew thousands of people Saturday. Halfway through the job fair, Spirit leaders estimated they already had 2,000 people in line. At 6 a.m., four hours before the job fair even opened, there were already 12 people in line.

Cody waited in line for two hours before he even got into the building and had his application screened by the managers.

So did Gage Moreno and his brother-in-law, Steven Woodin. They sat just steps away from where Cody waited in line. After having their applications screened by the managers, they were given the opportunity to wait for an interview.

"Standing in that line looking at the people sitting down, I didn't think I would be sitting here so I'm pretty ecstatic right now," Moreno said.

"First time applying to this company, it's one of the top companies in Wichita," Woodin said. "Just to hear I'm getting an interview is amazing."

This kind of job fair is rare at Spirit.

"We don't do this every day, this is a unique opportunity," Spirit spokesman Ken Evans said.

Spirit leaders say the workers they choose to hire will help with a $38 billion backlog of projects.

The hiring frenzy has been a bit confusing for people who point to the companies recent layoffs. But Spirit says those laid off held salaried, white-collar jobs as opposed to the hourly blue-collar jobs they're looking to fill now.

"The demand is really pushing us as a company to rebalance our workforce," Evans said.

Moreno will be joining that workforce.

"I got the job!" Moreno said as he came out of the building following his interview.

His brother-in-law also had a good interview but didn't get the job. Woodin says he was told to go through a bit more training and reapply in a few months. Like many others at the job fair, Woodin was linked up with Wichita Area Technical College.

"We are looking to fill immediate positions right now but we also want to fill the pipeline for the future," Evans said.

Cody will have to wait just a little bit longer to find out if that future will include him. But, he's not complaining. That's because Spirit has scheduled him for an interview Thursday.

"I'm really excited about it," Cody said.

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