Wichita Workers Get Some Help

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One of the cities hardest hit by the slump in aviation business has been Wichita, Kan., where workers at Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna and Raytheon have suffered a blizzard of pink slips. Last Thursday, Wichita got some good news from the federal government: up to $4 million in grant money for job-training programs. The money is targeted to help laid-off aviation workers, The Wichita Eagle reported, and there are plenty of them -- more than 11,000 have lost their jobs in the last 18 months. The program does have critics: "It's another Band-Aid solution," union worker Sue Ledbetter told the Eagle. "It might be a beginning, but it's not the answer." Meanwhile, economic consultant William Fruth told a local bankers' group last week that the city's best strategy might be to wean itself away from its aviation dependence. "The strongest economies are typically well diversified," he said, according to the Wichita Business Journal. "The weaker ones are dependent on one industry and that one industry may have gone into decline."