Job fair in the works for NASA employees
With hundreds more layoffs, many for engineers, expected through the retirement of NASA's shuttle program and the consequent slowdown at Johnson Space Center, Workforce Solutions has been gearing up to help the soon-to-be unemployed find a job.
The state- and federally funded agency expanded its Aerospace Transition Center at 16921 El Camino Real, which was created in May 2010, to continue to help those looking for a job and to accommodate businesses that are hiring.
"We're busy. That's why we're here," said Nancy Tootle, Workforce Solutions' industry liaison for energy and aerospace.
More than 900 jobs will be shed from the major contractors connected with JSC, including United States Alliance, Barrios and Boeing, by Sept. 1, adding to approximately 1,400 jobs that were shed last year.
Tootle said the agency has been working to absorb the previous round of layoffs with some success and will continue to do all it can to find jobs for those who come through the center, which was created specifically to help aerospace workers transition into other employment sectors.
Between January and June, Tootle said the agency counted 4,790 visits, and, since last October, it has helped 362 people find jobs. In addition, the agency has two facilitators stationed at JSC.
"We've had a lot of success stories," Tootle said. "We are encouraging people who've found a job to come and recruit their friends through LinkedIn and other sites."
Set up with computers, a sitting area, training rooms and private cubicles, the El Camino branch offers job retraining opportunities, job-search assistance and networking connections. Employment specialists are available to help people with financial planning and with updating resumes, using Internet networking sites and brushing up on interviewing skills.
Part of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, Workforce Solutions works with head-hunting and job-placement companies, offers funding for job retraining and partners with economic development groups to establish business-to-business activities that promote economic expansion and more jobs.
"We try to work with individuals to find out what they have done, what they need to do and what they need to do to get there," Tootle said.
A job fair in June attracted 82 employers, including Halliburton and Dow Chemical, who made offers on the spot, she said.
Another job fair will occur in September, but a date has not been set.
Undrea Kennedy of Dow's human resources department said that company has hired about 20 people from the aerospace industry through the job fairs and is continuing to hire for positions at the company's Freeport location.
"First and foremost, we are a science-and-technology company, and we must have highly skilled and innovative people," Kennedy said.
"NASA is known for its scientific innovation; so it made good business sense to try to hire some of these impacted contractors."
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