Grant will help displaced NASA contractors
The Labor Department is providing a $15 million emergency grant to help the aerospace contract workers polish their resumes and hone their job-seeking skills. Most of the employees affected by the grant are employed at ASRC Aerospace Corp., Boeing Co. and United Space Alliance.
"During nearly three decades of continuous space shuttle flights, these dedicated and talented workers have helped move our nation -- and the world as a whole -- forward in a broad range of disciplines," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said during a Wednesday visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "Today, these hard-working Americans need and deserve our support, and I am pleased that this grant will allow them to upgrade their skills further and gain access to work opportunities in high demand industries."
The grant is being awarded to the Brevard Workforce Development Board Inc., which also will serve as the program's operator. Funds from Labor's National Emergency Grants Program can be awarded to states that face "large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses."
President Obama previously announced a separate $40 million for jobs training for space shuttle public and private sector employees.
The shuttle program is scheduled to end in November after two more launches. As many as 20,000 contract and subcontract employees could be laid off, according to Labor estimates.
"We must take every step possible to maintain the Space Coast's highly skilled workforce, and this grant will provide critical support to workers and help them find new job opportunities in our community," said Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-Fla., whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center.
Obama announced a new direction for the space program earlier this year, calling for increased private sector involvement. The plan calls for the Kennedy Space Center to manage a five-year, $5.8 billion effort to help firms develop private sector space transportation.