On September 1, 2011, the NASA Space Shuttle Program officially ended. Thousands of employees at the Johnson Space Center on the Space Coast in Brevard County, Florida lost their jobs.
Many of the laid off workers were aerospace engineers and technicians with specialized skills and decades of experience in the space program. For some of these individuals, a new job would mean a challenging transition to a new occupation in another industry.
As part of a multi-pronged response to this upheaval of the workforce, CareerSource Brevard chose to deploy TORQ widely throughout its system. In addition to job fairs and programs to train workers in resume writing and interviewing, the workforce agency used TORQ to identify new careers and jobs matched to each laid off employee.
Because of the presence of NASA and the many private suppliers and technical services in the area, the Space Coast experienced strong growth despite the shutdown of the Shuttle program. Over the three years following the end of the Shuttle program, the unemployment rate in Brevard County dropped from 11% to 6.6%.
As a result, Career Source Brevard had a unique opportunity to steer Shuttle employees to local jobs that could use their scientific and technical expertise. At the end of a year of intensive efforts, more than half of the 5,700 workers that Career Source Brevard tracked had found new jobs. Of these reemployed workers, three fourths were able to remain in the local area.