Aircraft Maker to Recruit 1,000 New Workers to Keep Pace With Growth Plans

One Cessna Aircraft Company executive has described the challenge of fulfilling orders for its business jets and several new models of aircraft as something like a gardener?s: continually planting seeds and then having to rush around to collect lots of blooming flowers.

These are good days for Wichita, Kansas-based Cessna, which plans to deliver 300 business jets this year, and up to 23 percent more next year with the availability of several new aircraft for discriminating aviation buyers.

To fuel that growth, the company is recruiting aggressively and, by the end of December, will have recruited 1,000 new employees this year. It also recently announced that it plans to hire nearly another 1,000 people across its operations next year, including about 600 in Wichita. Most of the anticipated new hires are for aircraft assembly jobs. Cessna?s Scott Reid, manager of workforce planning and staffing, says that, depending on employee attrition, the company will hire 900 to 1,000 new employees in 2007, with some of the new recruits joining Cessna?s operations in Independence, Kansas and Columbus, Georgia.

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Reid says Cessna will recruit from a variety of channels, including advertising locally on radio and in newspapers, advertising in aviation-related magazines and publications, career fairs, online media, and through employee referrals. Among those, Reid says, career fairs, employee referrals, and local advertising have been the most effective forms of employee recruitment for the company. In fact, a recent one-day Cessna job fair in Wichita attracted about 3,000 applicants. But the challenge for Cessna, as with all growth-oriented companies, is finding the right people for the right jobs, and Reid says the competitive dynamics and challenge of filling some new positions are a constant impact on its recruitment activities.

?The challenges we face are just competition from other aviation companies,? says Reid, who points out that ?engineering positions are generally tough to fill.?