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Officials Reexamine Furlough Days
WPAFB -- Almost 13,000 civilians who work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are waiting for an official announcement from the Department of Defense that their 11 furlough days could be cut to as few as six. We've been reporting on a fluctuation of days since March when civilians were originally scheduled to lose 22 days of income.
For months we've been reporting how the Department of Defense has taken the civilian employees on a roller coaster after sequestration forced blind cuts across the federal government.
"It is scary because this community has been through a lot losing jobs on the commercial side and the defense side is fairly stable but since we started last year with the threats of sequestration that has all changed," said Deborah Gross of Dayton Area Defense Contractors.
Gross represents about 300 local companies who contract work out of Wright-Patt and says the roller coaster ride of furlough days will keep people from wanting to come work on base and that will impact the pool of qualified applicants.
"As people have uncertainties with their jobs if they can find jobs at other places to meet their needs because they have families to take care of and there are other places, they are going to take them," she said.
"It's not just here, there are concerns nationwide," said Hugh Bolton of ATIC. "Those fears are slowing down hiring. And it's causing folks to question whether or not they should make investments and training opportunities to pursue government or contracted careers associated with the federal government."
Bolton says his company ATIC had to close a couple classes earlier this year for students wanting careers at Wright-Patt because of the uncertainty of sequestration, but says the students are now coming back around and he is still optimistic about the future."
"I think while potentially there is a chance for negative impact the thing that keeps me encouraged is the Dayton region and leadership from the local Dayton coalition and legislators are doing everything they can to come together as a community to work with folks inside the fence and outside of fence," he said.
Gross says sequestration is stopping several of the companies she works with from filling their openings.
"It would be easier to leave those jobs open and when this happens shift people through my company so I don't have to lay anybody off," Gross said.
Some people we spoke with on base fear that the roller coaster may last much longer.
The defense department may cut the furlough for this fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, but it doesn't affect likely budget cuts in 2014. For that we'll just have to wait and see.
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