By Theresa Schmidt
Lake Charles, La (KPLC)- As some parts of the country struggle with growing unemployment southwest Louisiana looks forward to as many as 300 new aviation type jobs. That's since Northrop Grumman has beat out rival Boeing for the lucrative KC 10 tanker refueling maintenance contract from the Air Force.
There have been ups and downs over the years when it comes to aviation jobs... At peak times 1400 on the J-stars program, then as contracts disappeared, people out of work or having to re-locate for jobs. But there's excited anticipation with the announcement Northrop Grumman has been awarded a new 3.8 billion dollar contract from the air force. Police Jury President Hal McMillin says, "This is really big. This is tremendous for Calcasieu Parish. We were running against san Anton. This is big for us and it's going to be great jobs."
Scott Stevens is one who used to work for Northrop Grumman and and to find an alternate way to earn a living. "I worked from '94 to 2001 and in 2001 I was in the layoff and I was in quality control at the end. I first started out as an aircraft systems mechanic."
Yet he would welcome a new opportunity to work for Northrop Grumman. "It was something I was able to learn and be proud of, building something for the military. Because I'm a nine year military veteran, navy veteran and I was able to build something that was going to be used to protect America."
Though work in the industry sometimes comes and goes with government contracts, the new air force contract Northrop Grumman has won is for nine years. Boeing now has the contract, but it expires in January when Northrop will take over maintenance of the air force kc 10 refueling tankers. No word yet from the company on job opportunities in connection with the newly announced contract. For a link to Northrop Grumman's web site click here.