Jobs For Laid Off NASA Workers

Now that the Space Shuttle program has been retired, laid off NASA workers affected are trying to market their skills in new jobs.  Pat Hernandez tells us that some are being hired in the energy industry.

Thousands of contractors at Johnson Space Center have already been let go, and many more will be given pink slips by September.  Emil Peña with Rice University is part of a special task force put together by the Greater Houston Partnership, looking at ways to repurpose these skilled workers from JSC to the energy industry.

"The Department of Interior started looking at some of these factors, and they have an advisory group from industry as well as from government, that are looking how they can make safety factors more relevant.  And again, this is not just for ocean, it's also onshore with all these shale questions happening around the country.  Some of these people can actually be utilized or implemented, from their jobs that they have at NASA Johnson, into these areas."

Several local energy companies are listening, given the calibre and standards of the former NASA contractors.  Veronica Reyes directs the Aerospace Transition Center, a small storefront located in a strip mall in Clear Lake, that helps former contractors find work.  She says they've set up hundreds of interviews so far.

"We assist them at looking at training opportunities to get into another field.  We also help them out with things such as their resume, using social media, LinkedIn to network right with the employers directly, and we're helping them to try to get them placed.  We're actually holding multiple hiring events here.  We have employers coming in and flying in from all over the country."

Israel Galvan with GHG Corporation is a former NASA contractor.  He's been helping in the transition of laid off workers.

"NASA has arguably, one of the best system safety programs on the planet, I don't think there's any question about that.  If somebody was gonna try to put something like that together from scratch, it would take them decades, to be able to do that.  So that is part of what we think we can do.  And the one interesting thing about having these people here is that, should the space program be able to pick up again, these talents would still remain here."

Earlier this week, a congressional delegation from Texas fired off letters to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation & Enforcement, urging them to retrain workers to do safety inspections of offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.  You can find more information from these websites:, and

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez


Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...