NASA hopes to shuttle former employees into new jobs
NASA workers look on as space shuttle Atlantis is towed back to its hangar on July 21 at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
July 26th, 2011
11:38 AM ET

NASA hopes to shuttle former employees into new jobs

NASA is holding a career fair in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Tuesday to help its former contract employees to find new jobs now that the shuttle program is ending.

Among those who will be rubbing elbows with government and private recruiters are some of the engineers NASA hired to maintain the shuttle's 20 different systems - "every part of the shuttle that required a team of engineers and technicians to get it ready for the next flight," said Lisa Malone, a NASA spokeswoman."

Over the years, NASA has been downsizing those teams, with Cape Canaveral seeing the most layoffs, including 1,500 on Friday, Malone said.

"I would say the lion's share of (the layoffs) has been in Florida," she said.

According to a fact sheet from NASA, the agency plans to lay off 2.223 Florida "shuttle prime contractors" in fiscal 2011, for a total of 4,371 layoffs in Florida since 2008. At the end of the year, NASA expects to have laid off 9,425 shuttle contractors nationwide since 2008.

In addition to engineers, NASA's  contract employees included accountants, human resources personnel, "everything it takes to run an organization," Malone said.

Workers have known about impending layoffs, in some respect, since President George W. Bush announced the end of the shuttle program, Malone said. She said NASA and the recruiters hope about 1,000 former employees will come to the career fair and apply for new jobs.

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Filed under: NASA • Space
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. lorraine lau

    who cares!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Typical American response! If it doesn't directly affect 'you', then who cares...

      July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeppelin

      gfy, philistine coward.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • snow

      Dumbos like you are the ones who whine about how America doesn't do much for you when you got a problem. But you see the same problem faced by others.. and its "who cares". well who should care about what an ignorant moron like you have to think?

      July 26, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yonyo

    Was there anything that W. did that was good?

    July 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Ruined Jeb's chances of being the 3rd Bush in the Whitehouse.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Hmmm... yeah – he left the white house.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TCS

      He did push for the start of the Constellation program until Obama shot that out of the sky.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      He was probably the best President in American history at riding a mountain bike.

      That's about it.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Josh

    While I feel for anyone being laid off, the reality is that workers on the Shuttle Program have been working on that program now for 30, maybe 40, years. Even if the Shuttle Program continued, many would be leaving due to retirement.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sheldon

      I seriously doubt they hired a bunch of 20-year-olds at the beginning of the shuttle program and kept the exact same workforce for 30+ years.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      Not everybody on the program is in their fifties and sixties. Bad argument.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob Ramos

    The major part of these laid off folks should go into some kind of business. I know that my company cannot afford to hire from this pool but would really like to see if the ones we need were available for engagements. There are many other small businesses that feel the same.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • M&B

      What does your company do, Bob? I represent a small business that is trying to employ some of these people. Perhaps we could help each other.

      July 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. it's all related

    The myth that illegal aliens only hold jobs that American workers won’t do is just that — a myth. Recent studies estimate that 20 percent of cooks, 25 percent of construction workers, 22 percent of maids and housekeeping personnel, and 25 percent of groundskeepers are illegal aliens. In addition, 40 percent of illegal aliens are visa overstays, many of whom take high-end jobs from Americans.
    When fast-food company Chipotle was audited and hundreds of its illegal workers were fired, American citizens lined up the next day for a chance to work at those jobs. . .
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data from last year show that 98.3 percent of employees were confirmed as work-authorized instantly or within 24 hours using E-Verify. A 2009 report by research firm Westat found that those eligible to work are immediately confirmed 99.5 percent of the time.
    E-Verify is free, very accurate and reduces paperwork for American businesses.
    Please put your efforts into helping the truly down and out Americans. Please put your efforts in helping mothers, fathers, teenagers find work. There are generations of families who cannot compete with the under the table dealings of illegal’s and have gone out of business. Fax your representative today. Faxes and calls work and are free at NumbersUSA…..(there is POWER in Numbers, look it up and just do it!)

    July 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth

      Which has absolutely zip to do with this story. Go cry your anti-immigrant river somewhere else.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aeromechanic.

      Someone is coo-coo for Cocao Puffs.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kenneth

    And thirty years later there is no replacement because Congress has the foresight of a moth. Yea, just cut NASA budgets because the majority of Americans are more interested in American Idol than American dominance in the tech world.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Thank you, thank you, thank you Kenneth! It's scary what the American people are all about, these days. We deserve the predicament that we are currently in. I"m hoping our current problems are wake-up calls, and not something worse...

      July 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mustang

      Excellent comment.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      And just to take your thought to conclusion ... Congress has the foresight of a moth, because the American people have the foresight of a moth. We're the idiots that elected those idiots.

      Americans really do care about American Idol, and DWTS, and their Facebook status, and whatever mythical nonsense their preacher is stuffing them full of on Sundays. You can't expect an electorate like that to foster science and technology.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Max Power

    I was in Florida when the Mercury Program ended. Most of those workers went into Water and Waist Water Treatment which was a wide open field. I am sure these highly qualified - or dedicated workers would be a great addition to any workforce. PS We need to go to Mars because China will soon own the US.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. person of interest

    They'll be hired by the financial community to develop even more confusing financial instruments designed to make us all poor.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aubrie

    the U.S. is in such desperate need of COMPETENT math and science teachers.... Espcially advanced math and science. Many small high schools don't even offer calculus anymore... It's a travesty... I hope some of these people open their hearts and fill this gap.... WE NEED YOU!!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • WTHWTH

      Sorry, Aubrie, but those scientists and engineers are totally unqualified to teach science and math to our children. Why? Because they don't have a degree in education. And who declares that the lack of an education degree makes you unqualified? Why, the teachers' unions, of course.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      Not in my state.... Sorry that's the situation for you......

      July 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • snow

      Aubrie, I agree 100 percent.. In the country which had been pioneers of innovation, where there are ample opportunities for passionate kids to shine, the only thing lacking are good skillful teachers that can hone their imagination in a right way. There is far too much importance on unnecessary pop culture these days.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Astro-boy

      As someone with a degree in math who has taught at the high school and college level (basic math through calculus and DEs), I disagree. I've known a number of engineers and mathmaticians who were excellent at their jobs but couldn't teach someone how to add 2 + 2. They are too high level, speaking and thinking like scientists.

      Just look at Sheldon in "The Big Bang Theory" – most are like he is. Even his advanced students couldn't understand him. No social skills and an inability to relate to and communicate with non-scientists.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      And one thing they could teach is that there is little support for real science. They can teach that a lurch in goivernment policy can put you out on the street with few prospects.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mayan Man

    2012. The end is near. Mahabone.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keith

    I have an aeronautical engineering degree ... but I was glad I got that minor in computer programming!

    July 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. panzerman13

    To :
    lorraine lau
    "who cares!"

    You are an idiot...please follow Amy Winehouse into Oblivion and soon.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thomas

    lets make a private sector space company in houston – the space capital of the world

    July 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. panzerman13

    "I seriously doubt they hired a bunch of 20-year-olds at the beginning of the shuttle program and kept the exact same workforce for 30+ years."

    I have been here 24 years as have many of my coworkers.
    Shows what you know huh?

    July 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • oyster

      His point was just that not all of you are ready for retirement. So, it sucks that funding has been cut, etc.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      @panzerman I think most of us doubt that there have only been one class of workers, all now in their 50's. Now, if it really IS just a huge group of people who have been there for decades, maybe that's why people are less excited about NASA projects, no fresh ideas....

      July 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marty McFly

    Doc – Keep working on that flux capacitor – Marty

    July 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
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