Congressman Green Pitches NASA Workers To Interior Department

The end of the Space Shuttle program means layoffs for thousands of local technicians, engineers and scientists. Houston's congressional delegation is proposing a way to keep many of those skilled workers from having to leave the region in search of new jobs. Andrew Schneider has more.

The Interior Department is looking to hire hundreds of inspectors for offshore oil and gas rigs. It’s part of the effort to both improve safety and speed production in the wake of last year’s Gulf oil spill.

Houston Congressman Gene Green is petitioning the department to hire Johnson Space Center employees and contractors that are being let go with the end of the shuttle program.

“Those folks could be trained very quickly, because they have a technical background, to also inspect vessels and oil and gas rigs, cause frankly, if they were inspecting the Shuttle and things going into space, they know some of the quality requirements that you have to have, and I want the same thing in our offshore drilling platforms.”

Green says hiring idled NASA workers would solve two problems: Interior’s difficulty finding skilled workers and the Houston area’s ability to hold onto the ones it has now.

“Some of these folks who are leaving NASA will go to the private sector for a lot of the private companies that are going to do space exploration, but we want to make sure that we don’t lose them from our area.”

Fourteen members of Congress have signed Green’s letter to Interior, including the entire Houston delegation.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...