Laid-off Kansas aviation workers salvage unusual opportunities

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Some aviation workers who were laid off in Wichita are making the most of a federal program that helps folks making an strive for label unusual opportunities or a bet to attain more training and talents.

Tracy Taylor, 32, lost her job on the 737 program at Spirit AeroSystems in January. She has since returned to college to gape nursing at WSU Tech. She told The Wichita Eagle that she used to be ready to attain so due to of the Substitute Adjustment Aid program, which is fragment of the Wichita Personnel Heart.

“The TAA program roughly fell in my lap, and I’m grateful for it,” stated Taylor, who intends to plan her nursing level by the program. “The opportunity is repeatedly gonna be there for folk, but it’s possible you’ll presumably now not know the build to gaze. It’ll also be overwhelming even as you happen to don’t know the build to originate.”

Taylor is one of spherical 9,100 folks who lost their jobs by either a layoff or a furlough following the 737 Max fallout closing December, according to the Personnel Alliance of South Central Kansas. The Alliance runs the Wichita Personnel Heart besides the Butler, Cowley and Sumner team products and services in the impart.

Once COVID-19 hit, job losses in Wichita grew. About 45,447 folks were laid off or furloughed in the impart as a result of pandemic since December, the Personnel Alliance estimates.

Coupling those figures with the 737-associated layoffs and diverse others, some 55,000 folks possess lost their jobs in 2020. Some furloughed workers possess returned to work, but the staunch number has now not been reported.

While consultants and workers predict aviation will assemble a comeback in Wichita, laid-off employees are uncertain of what to attain in the length in-between.

Russell Speirs, who lost his job with airplane repairs firm Bombardier in February 2019 after his contract expired, stated becoming a member of the TAA program gave him unusual life.

“With aviation, nothing is guaranteed anymore,” he added. “It’s so unstable.”

Speirs is now a beefy-time student at WSU Tech pursuing his affiliate’s level in commerce administration. He’s slated to graduate in the autumn of 2021.

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