Brevard Workforce Shifts Focus in Helping Laid Off Shuttle Workers

Florida Today reports that Brevard Workforce has shifted the focus of the work it is doing for laid off shuttle workers under a $15 million emergency grant from the federal government designed to fund on-the-job training:

Brevard Workforce requested and received permission to spend most of the money on more basic career services, like how to search for a job, write resumes, interview and network.

“You would think we’d have every business in Brevard saying ‘Give me an OJT (On-the-Job Training candidate) for when I hire my next person,” said Brevard Workforce President Lisa Rice. “We don’t.”

What they do have: former aerospace workers who need to “de-NASA-fy” resumes, translating jargon few outside Kennedy Space Center understand. Workers who need to learn how to sell themselves in interviews, set up profiles on LinkedIn or start a business — skills many never needed during long shuttle careers.

The grant’s ultimate goal remains to serve a total of 3,200 displaced aerospace workers, with at least 2,240 finding new employment, targets Brevard Workforce is optimistic it will meet by the time the grant expires next June.

Through June 30, the agency reported spending $5.9 million and closing 613 cases that had resulted in jobs, about 1,600 shy of the goal. More than $9 million remained available to spend during the next year.

The key reason for the shift: the sluggish economy has reduced demand for on-the-job training. There are not enough jobs available to use the $15 million Department of Labor grant for its original purpose.

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