Governor Laura Kelly met with local and state officials today in Wichita as part of the administration’s ongoing rapid response effort to assist aviation sector workers who have been impacted by the recent round of layoffs.
In January, Governor Kelly directed Secretary Garcia to lead a coordinated state response to layoffs that followed Boeing’s temporary suspension of production of the 737 Max aircraft. Spirit AeroSystems produces the 737 Max fuselage in Wichita.
Joining Governor Kelly for the discussion today at the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas were Delia Garcia, Secretary of Labor; Keith Lawing, president and CEO of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas; Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple; Kansas Senate Majority Leader Anthony Hensley; and Kansas House Rep. Jim Ward.
Participants shared updates on efforts to assist affected workers and other Kansas-based businesses that provide supplies and support to Spirit for 737 Max fuselage production.
The Department of Labor is coordinating the rapid response along with the Department of Commerce and the Department for Children and Families; the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas; and the Wichita-based Air Capital Commitment.
“While this coordinated and comprehensive approach is helping affected employees and businesses connect with needed resources, there’s still much work to do. Long-term support is critical,” Governor Kelly said. “We continue to be in constant communication with local, state and federal officials as we expand our response effort and pursue every possible way to assist workers as well as Spirit and the businesses in its supply chain.”
“We are continuing to connect impacted Kansas workers with resources during this difficult time, and are continually adding more resources they may access, such as details on future rapid response sessions, job fairs and more,” Secretary Garcia said. “Today’s meeting helped us evaluate current strategies and identify new approaches to assisting workers and businesses.”
The Wichita-based Air Capital Commitment and local United Way joined the state in sharing information on state and local resources that are available to workers and businesses.
“The response from the leaders in our community has been impressive,” Mayor Whipple said. “Wichita is known for not just being the Air Capital of the World, but also for having some of the best people who look out for one another. This has led to a coordinated commitment to assist our neighbors, workers and local businesses in a meaningful way as we position ourselves to economically diversify and embrace future opportunities.”
The Air Capital Commitment website https://www.aircapitaloftheworld.com/commitment offers information for workers on job opportunities, unemployment benefits, access to health insurance and other assistance.
The State of Kansas also established an Aviation Worker Response website with resources for affected workers at www.dol.ks.gov/AviationWorkerResponse. The information provided ranges from resources such as child care, access to healthcare and mental health support to training and education options.