Orange County Business Journal

Boeing to Cut 100 Jobs from Huntington Beach Space Division

Chris Casacchia Monday, June 6, 2011

The Huntington Beach operation of Chicago’s Boeing Co. will cut 100 jobs from its space exploration division as the space shuttle program comes to an end.

The local job cuts were part of a larger companywide reduction of 510 employees in Huntington Beach, Houston and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the company announced.

Employees were given 60-day advanced layoff notices on Monday, Boeing said.

The last workday for affected workers will be Aug. 5, pending the completion of the final space shuttle mission, dubbed STS-135.

Some employees will be reassigned to other operations, according to Boeing.

Boeing has played a big role in the U.S. space program for more than 50 years, participating in every major human spaceflight program since Project Mercury, which ran from 1958 to 1963.

Boeing is Orange County’s fourth-largest employer with about 8,000 workers in Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, Seal Beach and Cypress.

It’s seen a drop in local employment of about 5% in the past year with a shift away from work on big-ticket projects. The new focus is on satellites, unmanned planes and other vehicles equipped with communications gear.

Boeing’s local workers primarily are engineers. Nearly all of its work here is for the military.

The Business Journal reported last month that Boeing’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program—designed to upgrade Army communications in combat—is set to slash hundreds of positions nationwide through October.

The program is spread over Huntington Beach and other Boeing sites, including Fort Bliss, Texas, Orlando, Fla., Houston, Philadelphia and Northern Virginia.

Earlier cutbacks hit Huntington Beach last year. The latest round is expected to come some time this summer as the Army shifts the focus of its communications program and reduces funding.

Boeing does not disclose employment figures for programs.

Hundreds of layoffs are expected in Huntington Beach and at other sites, a spokesman told the Business Journal.