Laid off Spirit workers to receive help: Governor

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Spirit announced they're laying off roughly 15 percent of their workforce in Wichita Friday morning, leaving several people looking for jobs.

Now, the question looms, what's next for them?

"Under a warn notice, they will still get 60 days of pay," Keith Lawing said, CEO and president of the Workforce Alliance of south central Kansas. "Then they will be looking to possibly apply for unemployment insurance they will be eligible for that."

Lawing said the layoffs are temporary, giving the employees the chance to be rehired. To do so, they would have to wait and see when the production of 737 MAX would start again since they cited the uncertainty in that production as a major reason for the layoffs. If they want to leave the industry they can go elsewhere and Lawing said the Workforce Center in Wichita can help with that.

"There are some other high end manufacturing, like Case New Holland, we've got Johnson Controls, so there's other manufacturing jobs," he said.

Even if they want to stay in the industry, laid off employees won't have to go far to search.

"We'll probably be doing some customized job fairs," Lawing said. "We'll probably be having some job fairs maybe just for impacted workers from spirit."

The workers are even getting support on a national level, with several people in Washington D.C. reaching out.

"We are working to increase the opportunities for Wichita and Kansas businesses to contract for defense work," said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran.

Congressman Ron Estes also issued a statement  where he said, in part, "My office in Wichita is available to help connect furloughed employees with the department of labor and other resources." Gov. Laura Kelly also chimed in on the topic saying in a statement, "I have directed and all-hands-on-deck approach across state government to help workers, Spirit and other Kansas businesses that will be negatively impacted connect with every available resource, with an emphasis on long term support." Gov. Kelly went on to say in the statement that she is directing Wichita native and Labor Secretary Delia Garcia to coordinate the states available resources for affected workers and businesses.

This and other statements are what make Keith Lawing say that he feels everything will be OK for these Spirit employees.

"I am very confident in this community right now," he said. "We have jobs, if somebody wants to work, there are going to be a lot of opportunities out there."

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