Summit for layoffs coincides with Newport News shipyard cuts
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Summit for layoffs coincides with Newport News shipyard cuts

Posted: November 19, 2010

By Bill Cresenzo

Thomas Nelson Community College officials had planned for months to hold a summit on how to best assist people who have been laid off.

Little did they know that the summit, held last week, would coincide with a massive layoff at the Northrop Grumman shipyard in Newport News.

The company announced on Nov. 12 that it would lay off about 380 salaried employees.

On Nov. 15-16, workforce training professionals, employees with the Virginia Employment Commission, and college and economic development officials met at the college for a Rapid Response Summit, where they planned a “new vision for coordinated economic workforce development initiatives to prevent, minimize or respond to layoffs or closings.”

“To ensure that impacted employees receive information quickly, the Rapid Response team met with Northrop Grumman officials and on Monday, the team provided information at sessions held by Northrop Grumman for the dislocated workers,” said Tia Freeman, a TNCC spokeswoman.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement that the layoffs were “a necessary step to improve efficiency across the organization.”

“While this is a very difficult decision, it is a critical and necessary step in order to control costs, effectively manage overhead, improve efficiently and lower the acquisition costs of our products to better secure the future of our shipyard and the affordability of the ships we build and overhaul for the U.S. Navy.”

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman said that it was leaving the shipbuilding business and plans to sell the shipyard, which employees about 20,000 people.

Another possibility is that the company might spin off the shipyard to shareholders.

About 100 of the people who were laid off have prior trade experience in fields such as welding and were offered hourly positions.

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