Lockheed Martin Ready To Close Goodyear Plant
The aerospace company Lockheed Martin has almost completely closed its facility in Goodyear. About 600 workers are affected but Goodyear city officials see the shutdown as an opportunity to grow the local economy.
Lockheed Martin has been a fixture in Arizona for decades, but last year the firm announced it will close its Goodyear plant in 2015. Efforts to reduce federal spending at the Pentagon are partly responsible.
"As our customers are facing budget cuts at the same time they are facing increasingly complex mission demands…we’re working to help them do more with less, which means finding ways to make our operations work more efficiently and reduce our costs,” said Christine Courard with Lockheed’s Defense and Intelligence Solutions division.
There is some good news, last summer Lockheed announced it will keep about 50 jobs in Goodyear. They’ll work with the company’s Flight Operations Group and Synthetic Aperture Radar program. But, that still left about 550 Lockheed employees in Goodyear looking for work.
“A number of those have either moved to Littleton, Colorado or Valley Forge, Pennsylvania or other Lockheed locations. Many have already found other employment in the Goodyear and Phoenix area," Courard said.
“I know this seems to be out in the public that Lockheed is gone and the world has come to an end. We wanted to keep them,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said.
She said the city is trying to attract new businesses to fill the gap Lockheed is leaving behind.
“We want this to be a home town. We want people to raise their children and educate them here and we want the children to stay here. We want the young people to have jobs,” Lord said.
“Certainly nobody wanted to see Lockheed go away” said Harry Paxton, Goodyear’s Economic Development Project manager. He said a lot of industrial space will be up for lease now that Lockheed is pulling out.
“We’re talking about a campus of about 490,000 square feet of which they occupied in 18 different buildings. It is a challenge but it also creates a tremendous opportunity for us,” Paxton said.
He said Goodyear hopes to recruit other aerospace companies to locate at the old Lockheed Martin site. He said the city is promoting the plant’s close proximity to the Goodyear Airpark, Interstate 10 and the Loop 303 freeway.
“That area is going to continue, we believe, to be our anchor for manufacturing for technology companies and for aviation, those spaces can really serve industry well,” Paxton said.
The city of Goodyear and Lockheed Martin have been holding job fairs and offering career counseling for people who’ve lost their jobs.