WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita is not getting good grades on recession recovery. The economic research blog, Glassdoor, has Wichita at #272.
“That does not surprise me,” says Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “Does not surprise me at all.”
Longwell says the city is trying to innovate to find new jobs, outside the aviation cluster that employs thousands.
“Because what we were doing over the last several years wasn’t working and that’s what has ranked us in the (272) 200 and some,” says Longwell. “We’re going to change that dramatically over the next year or so.”
Longwell points to the WSU innovation campus, and says Wichita needs more tech jobs, I-T jobs and more emphasis on diversification.
Jay Aldrich, a former Boeing worker, says the innovation and emphasis on new jobs can’t come soon enough.
“I’ve been out of work since November of 2014,” says Aldrich. “But we rank in the 200’s in recovery? That’s a hard pill to swallow. They need to do better than that.”
Aldrich is actively looking for work as an inspector, with 30-plus years in the aviation sector.
Meanwhile, the city says it is trying to do better. Longwell points out he campaigned on using an economic blueprint for success. He says we need a plan.
“We know today that there are places all around the world that want to buy products that we have, we just have to team those with our local companies and we are starting to do a better job of that,” says Longwell. “But it takes a well thought-out, well-defined plan to be able to execute those kinds of opportunities. So, we are trying. We’re encouraged today by what we are going after.”
Meanwhile, Aldrich says he is looking outside the aviation industry.
“I have a good set of eyes, I can see the big picture and I pay attention to detail in workflow settings,” says Aldrich. “But being out of work is a job. I’m looking for the best company to take me on and I am flexible.”