Domestic automakers and suppliers have engineers walking the plank these days, but the U.S. Navy is coming to the rescue.
The unit responsible for building, buying and maintaining the Navy's ships, subs and combat systems is finding fertile ground in the wreckage of the U.S. auto industry, which is slashing jobs and products. "These are experienced, midcareer men and women who can immediately make a contribution," said Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy of the Naval Sea Systems Command.
At an April career fair in a Detroit suburb, the Navy collected 240 resumes as part of an effort to fill 56 jobs for a design program at the 53,000-member unit. "We've been very impressed with the quality of applicants from the Detroit area," said Navy spokeswoman Kathleen Roberts. One reason, she said, is the auto industry's experience with weight-cutting composite materials, which are finding their way into shipbuilding programs.
Other design programs are likely to gear up in the fall, and auto engineers who find themselves adrift should be a good fit. After all, if you've designed a Hummer, a battleship shouldn't be much of a stretch.