At least 805 workers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans East and its John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County will lose their jobs in January when their employer's contract with NASA expires. However, many will likely be rehired by the new vendor, officials said Tuesday.
Out on Jan. 31 is Jacobs Technology, a Jacobs Engineering Inc. subsidiary that has offices in Louisiana but is headquartered in Tennessee. Coming in Feb. 1 is Syncom Space Services LLC, a joint venture of the Virginia-based PAE and BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. that has local offices and managers.
The changeover comes after NASA combined the separate Michoud and Stennis contracts -- both of which were held by Jacobs -- into one contract, issued a request for proposals and ranked the applicants by mission suitability, cost and level of confidence in their past performance.
Jacobs and four other firms bid and lost. Syncom was the victor. Jacobs protested NASA's decision to federal authorities in July, but the U.S. Government Accountability Office found Jacobs' criticisms baseless.
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That means after Jacobs' contract expires, 195 Louisiana residents who work at Michoud will be laid off, Jacobs Vice President and General Manager Bart Jones said in a Nov. 12 letter to Louisiana officials. So will 610 employees at Stennis, a number believed to include both Louisiana and Mississippi residents.
It's not yet clear how many of those employees Syncom will rehire, partly because the new firm will adjust staffing throughout its $1.2 billion performance-based contract, expected to stretch over roughly 10 years, business development manager Meg Manthey said.
"However, (Syncom) anticipates hiring a high percentage of incumbent employees at both Michoud and Stennis," she said. The firm will meet with employees in the coming weeks to discuss job opportunities.
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