All of the funding from (the federal programs agency) is for three years, with an annual allocation of money. It is our intention, however, to continue beyond the three years. So, we would be looking for other sources of funding to continue after (the federal) money has run out. As far as the number of people goes, we looked at a UCLA study and some of the military base closures--and really there are hundreds of thousands of people who are going to be displaced over the next two or three years. Then we looked at what we are realistically able to handle, and we came up with a figure of 10,000 people over the three years.
How much of a dent would that make in the number of displaced defense workers?
We figured it was 20% of the people locally, in this area.
How many applications did the federal agency receive?
Five thousand. They received 550-some-odd proposals from California. The governor's office endorsed 338, including ours.
On retraining workers . . .
"It's the first time for the nation to do anything like this. There are lots of people saying that this is pie in the sky, and that all of this money is going to be wasted."
On entrusting the future to the marketplace . . .
"When we had our last downturn and layoffs back in the '70s, I think everybody assumed that, after we recovered, the economy would take care of itself forever. Now we all know that that's a fairy tale."
On changing careers . . .
"Sometimes, the best way is to go out there and do it, and see if you still like the idea." On transferring skills . . .
"Engineering is projected to have a 34% growth rate by 2010. There are jobs out there, but it's going to take an untraditional job search, some self-assessment and analysis of skills."