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. Artie

    These guys worked so hard that they became redundant working off the glory of the first engineers that put man into space and the moon. They cashed in on years of doing nothing to advance the space program than what was started in the 60's. Now they can enjoy the hefty severance benefits & start their careers all over again. Getting a real job in this economy sucks, doesn't it? Glad to have my lawn care business for 21 years. Life & retirement's not so bad when you worked for a living instead of becoming redundant like these guys. (& gals.).

    July 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rktman71

      I'm sure you've also worked as a rocket engineer/scientist so as to be able to make a fair comparison, right?

      July 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |

      My company (the one I worked for) supplied much of the computer equipment for the shuttle program. The men at the cape were among the best I encountered during nearly fifty years in the business., I can underestand how you feel being behind a lawn ower for so long without any intellectual stimulation to make your days shorter. To this end I offer the following to help stimulate you and your grass cutting challange. Pucker up your lips and kiss my a$$..

      July 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      Oh well, we have a "service economy" now. We don't really need engineers anymore. Maybe they can catch on with China or India. They still value engineering.

      Otherwise they'll have to find new skills to compete in a "service economy". I suggest dog grooming or party planning.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith

      @ Artie, you are an idiot

      July 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      Do they have severance benefits? One very large aerospace company I know gives 2 weeks severance. If you actually know something please list the companies and their severance policies. Thanlks.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris G.

      Yup Artie, that's for sure, we should all get behind lawn mowers and go for, before the decade is out, perfect lawns across the US. You know nothing Artie, so pls just mow the lawn.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      As more middle class families lose one or more jobs or take lower paying ones, these folks will mow their own lawns. Then where will you be Art? Think about the consequences. Lawn mowing is not rocket science. 🙂

      July 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Artie


    July 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • gfg

      um yeaa the unemployment rate for the educated is around 4% compared to you (uneducated) 10%

      July 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharp

      America trains people in school & college to work for somebody else & MAKE THEM MONEY. The really smart people have zillions of these pre-made brainless minions to put to work for peanuts. They can pick & choose.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Long Thicnknwhite

    They can watch the space program money get wasted in inner city schools and welfare. 2 things of far less value to society than even a garbage truck!

    July 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bo S. Ton

      What do you mean? Cities without garbage trucks would be unlivable. I very much appreciate garbage trucks. They definitely have a value to society. You are talking out of your...

      July 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bo S. Ton

    Maybe they could go an work for Iran or North Korea. They may want people with such skills.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Hey Americans, instead of being happy that you have such a powerful research organization as NASA, you all are making fun of these talented people that just lost their jobs. I am sure they will find research or technology jobs in near future and will have many accomplishments. It sometimes amazes me how you overlook the fact that US is the most powerful country because of its science and technology. Any they you lose that edge over other nation it is just matter of time before you become an ordinary country.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • tbazz

      It would be great if some of these people ended up in our schools teaching science and technology to our young people.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      >> Any they you lose that edge over other nation it is just matter of time before you become an ordinary country.

      I meant:
      Any day you lose that edge over other nations it is just matter of time before you become an ordinary country.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • maurypovich

      Your revised sentence was equally poor...But thanks for the social commentary?

      July 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • John


      If you are trying to comment on my English, please try to write in English following English grammar rules. As you may have already noticed, your second sentence is not written in English.

      I am sure that you got my point from the first post.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      TBAZ says these laid off peiople should be: "in our schools teaching science and technology " Yeah, they can teach that a lurch in goivernment policy can put you out on the street with few prospects.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris G.

      In the US, we appreciate wrestlers, monster trucks and such, it's actually not cool at all to be a rocket scientist. This is what you get with low educational funding and standards, an idiocracy. I think we're giving all the excellent NASA folks the shaft for doing a tremendous job, flying the worlds only hypersonic space plane for 30 years, putting up Hubble, mapping the entire earth. They should be getting medals, not pink slips.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ADiff

    Not to worry, I hear Iran is hiring all the rocket scientists it can.....

    July 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barry B.

    Let me guess, they will sell off the equipment from the program to China?

    July 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharp

      You bet. It wouldn't be so bad except they didn't even hold out for top dollar.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cndh

    I was caught up in this latest round of lay offs with less than a year till retirement age and though I work for a large company, they do not see fit to offer people in my position "early retirement". I find this even harder to swallow than the lay off notice and hope there are not others out there going through the same thing.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharp

      You were chosen deliberately so they could shed the liability you represent. This is standard with big corporations since about the 70's. EVERYBODY knows this. Were you living under a rock? Corporations are soulless monsters.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sam

    Now we're going to "privatize" manned space flight. It only took us 50 years to get to where we are now. So far, the "private" space flight companies have ALMOST managed to accomplish what Alan Shepard did 50 years ago. I'm sure they'll be delivering large payloads into oribit any day now.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jude

    another move by ameria to "pass the baton." efforts to take our country "backwards" are succeeding...behind in education...the filthy rich will happy when the average american works for third world wages and will, they could care less about much else than $$$$.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scott Sund

    I have read most all of these comments. We are all equal in this disturbing recession and continuance of hard times. I, myself suffered a loss of a very good job in the early 1990's with the end of the Cold War. I was a US Naval Aviation vet and spent big bucks getting my degree. I watched on TV the space shuttle Columbia blowing up after lift off on the year of my graduation in 87 from Parks College.
    I used to be a Design engineer with McDonnell Aircraft for the F/A-18 as well as a Secret new program when all hit the fan. I lost 10 years of life as I had to take temp jobs, convenience store jobs, etc. I finally mustered the guts to go back to school under further my education and earn a degree in Civil Engineering. Times were good for about 10 years. Now, with this recession, Civil is busted. I have been out of work since 08. I say ; "what do you think about that"? I am proud of the individuals who served on the space program, and many I went to school with.
    Should any employer in the aerospace field have a need for me, I would be obliged again to work for the Defense sector or the US Military.

    Scott Sund Newnan, Georgia

    July 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burt Way

      Been there too. Best of luck to you.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ludvig

    When they closed my Shipyard 10,000 Federal workers lost their jobs. I worked there as an engineer. The government sent people out to tell us that we could do anything in the private sector, which would lead to a rotten pension not increased for inflation plus a 66% reduction in any social security benefits we would earn since we had a federal pension. Nevermind the fact that it would become worthless as inflation ate up whatever there was there. On the other hand the only thing we could do for the government in their priority placement program was what we had previously done. We weren't eligible for any other type jobs in the government. In my engineering field, a couple of hundred engineers classified like me at the shipyard and another couple of hundred engineers at the shipyard across the country that was closed lost our jobs and only one job in the country with that classification opened up during the year of eligibility for the priority placement program.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A. White

    I commend all those folks who stayed until the end. They knew they would be out of a job, but still saw their mission through to the last, and they were needed. Those people getting laid off were mostly contractors, and they won't be getting severance packages and nice corporate parachutes. This job fair and some career help will be about it for them, and they'll be pounding the pavement with 9,000 other people with the same skill set, a brilliant mind, and no hope for finding a job.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris G.

      Yes they did an awesome job right to the end, and some beyond as they ready the vehicles for museums. Hat's off to every one of them. What a screwup though, to stop flying the shuttle now that it't really wired. That was a mistake.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott Sund

    Any one out there have a need for a twice degreed technical person? BS Aero and BS Civil. Out of work since 2008.

    Contact Newnan, GA, or 770-304-2240. Have A&P as well. F-14, F-16, F/A-18, A-6, A-12, E-2C, C-9B. Need work very badly.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew

    Forget the shuttle, it's gone, save the James Webb telescope!

    July 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
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