Local Space Contractor Set for Big Layoffs

Job layoffs at a major space shuttle contractor first announced this summer take effect today, the first real sign of the end of the shuttle program here in Houston. Jack Williams reports.

United Space Alliance, based here in Houston and one of the biggest NASA contractors, says 333 employees here are out of jobs. The company says it's laying off more than 1200 company-wide as the Space Shuttle program comes to an end soon. This is the Space Alliance's Kari Fluegel.

"We've known this day was coming for a while. We have actually given our employees 60-days notice specifically for this particular layoff. So, while it's going to be very difficult to bid these friends and neighbors goodbye, we're done what we can to help prepare them for the future."  

Fluegel says 142 employees near retirement age volunteered for the layoffs. The others were chosen according to work flow. Many layoffs came within the Space Alliance's Flight Operations division. She says the company has done what it can to help employees get ready for the layoffs.

"We've been working with employees for a couple of years. We've been providing training classes on how to interview, how to build your resume, we've been working with Texas Workforce Solutions to provide resources, so we're doing what we can to arm them to compete effectively in this marketplace." 

The Space Alliance says the layoffs aren't over yet, with more planned for January. Fluegel says that round of job losses won't be as severe as this one.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...