Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shuttle Workers Face Uncertain Future

The Orlando Sentinel reports, "It has been nearly eight years since then-President George W. Bush announced plans to retire the space shuttle, yet the region still is struggling to find good jobs for thousands of workers whose paychecks disappeared with the end of the shuttle era."

NASA officials predict the KSC work force will number roughly 8,200 next year — about half the 15,000 employed there in 2008. A few hundred contractors now are giving the shuttles last rites before they, too, join their former colleagues in a brutal job market ...

[KSC spokesman Allard] Beutel estimated that employment would pick up again in 2013 when NASA gets closer to debuting its new Space Launch System and that KSC would be "back up to 10,000 employees within five years."


The article recalls that, "President Barack Obama pledged $40 million to help the area rebuild" but states that it "disappeared during budget battles."

I wrote on April 27 that the $40 million was cut by Congress as it held up the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which was supposed to have begun on October 1, 2010.

Florida Today wrote about the matter on May 1, which I discussed in a blog that day. Space Coast Rep. Bill Posey said he did not support the $40 million proposal because Obama did not personally reach out to him. Sandy Adams, whose district includes KSC, voted against the budget bill because "Congress didn't cut deep enough," according to the newspaper article.

The Obama administration last May proposed a new commercial spaceflight center that would have brought 50 jobs to KSC, but Adams called it "troubling" saying, "I am very concerned about the budget."

CNN reports that the Republican majority running the House of Representatives will not allow Obama's latest job proposal to come to a vote.

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