Fighting the downsizing blues
What's a rocket scientist to do when faced with a lower-rung job market that requires skills that aren't, well, rocket science?
Three miles from Johnson Space Center, Workforce Solutions recently opened the Aerospace Transition Center to help the thousands of aerospace workers faced with the prospect of a layoff find their next big thing. In its first few weeks, Workforce Solutions has already spoken with hundreds of aerospace workers, and its staff of six is set to grow.
"(The workers) enjoy what they're doing here," Veronica Reyes, a manager at the Aerospace Transition Center told KHOU. "This was an opportunity of a lifetime to be part of something so big and so special that impacted our nation."
It's a cozy idea — the government taking care of its own unemployed — but it's still unusual for such a highly educated class to be put out on the streets. CultureMap presents the top five potential (real and ironic) new trades for the laid-off astronauts and physicists.
1. High school science teacher: In Houston's increasingly knowledge-based economy, students' preparedness in science and technology is essential to ensuring the city's future viability. Enlisting professional scientists will show how the abstract formulas and memorized tables can translate into exciting, real-world outlets.
2. Flight attendant: Emirates Air is hiring in Houston! The sky is just a tiny step below outer space, so the NASA refugees will feel right in their element.
3. Spaghetti Western: The unique Heights eatery is now open for weekend brunch — meaning they'll be needing increased wait staff. Hey, it's better than trying to peddle space food.
4. METRO: Transfer that knowledge of the skyway to the highway — or better yet, railway. Houston's transit authority is presently having to outsource its engineering needs to Europe: The trains for the light rail Red Line were conceived and constructed by Siemens in Germany, and for upcoming routes, the cars are to be shipped from an engineering firm in Spain. Surely NASA exes can beat that.
5. Not BP.