WICHITA, Kansas – The Wichita job market is taking a major hit with the announcement of 575 layoffs at Textron.
Aviation experts say, after the sale of Beechcraft to Textron, it was only a matter of time.
“The whole point on combining the two companies was to achieve critical mass to get rid of any kind of duplication of function,” said Richard Aboulafia, Teal Group.
City leaders are saying they will re-double efforts to get more jobs in town.
“It’s not easy, and I just want those to know, who are losing their jobs, the city stands behind them, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure there is a job available for them,” said James Clendenin, Wichita City Council member.
City leaders say the layoffs will be a multi-million dollar hit to the local economy.
Meanwhile, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and economic development groups say they are out there and have been trying to find more aviation and non-aviation jobs and bring them to Wichita.
“And our hearts go out to them. We are also optimistic that we can retain those jobs in the Wichita region,” said Gary Plummer, Wichita Area Chamber CEO.
The Wichita Economic Development Coalition continues to try and diversify Wichita’s job base. They say they are close to landing new businesses to keep Wichita’s workforce.
Better times could be on the way with a more stable and streamlined Cessna-Beechcraft, but that doesn’t make it any any easier for those out of work.
“The companies are in the right spot,” said Jeremy Hill, WSU Center for Economic Development. “They’re really moving forward. It just is really hard on the employees locally here within the Wichita area.”