Building You: Laid off workers pursue new careers in aviation

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - There are laid of workers in aviation who are choosing to pursue new careers in the same industry.

According to the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, 8,803 people were laid off or furloughed from aviation manufacturing between December 2019 and December 2020, due to the pause in production of the Boeing 737 MAX.

One of those people who was laid off, Brandon Faust, decided to take advantage of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

It is paying for his 18-month Aviation Maintenance Technology program at WSU Tech.

“Thankfully, it was one of the approved programs on the list. So, I kind of jumped in with both feet and said, ‘Well, if I’m going to be not working, then I’m going to go get the training I need to get the job that I really want,” said Faust.

Aviation companies are hiring in Wichita.

“Job market is definitely turning around in Wichita. There are a lot of jobs out there that need to be filled like sheet metal, composites, things that are really easy to get a certificate in and go to work,” said Jim Hall, dean of aviation and manufacturing for NCAT at WSU Tech.

Hall said there are short term programs that are enrolling right now.

“We have a demand for new students to learn sheet metal and composites and process mechanic, so the short term programs, that run 6-8 weeks,” said Hall. “We’re seeing a lot of demand in those programs, from employers, so we are ramping those back up to meet those needs.”

The job opportunities have increased from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021.

“What we’re seeing now is an unusual influx but we’re taking advantage of it. We’re using it to help students become more skilled, to increase in their productivity. We want to keep everybody here in Wichita. That is part of our mission. Wichita is a great place to be and we want to make sure we continue to have the best labor force in the country,” said Hall.

To learn more about aviation training programs at WSU Tech, click here.

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