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City Leaders Say Tulsa, State Can Absorb Laid Off American Workers

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Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett says between changing jobs - and careers - the city is confident Tulsa's economy can absorb the layoffs from American. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett says between changing jobs - and careers - the city is confident Tulsa's economy can absorb the layoffs from American.
Aerospace industry experts say many companies besides American are hiring. Aerospace industry experts say many companies besides American are hiring.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Community leaders are responding to the layoffs, but already say there are other opportunities for American employees. The Chamber of Commerce is meeting to talk strategy.

As they've been expecting this announcement, the chamber and city have been more closely monitoring the job opportunities outside American - and they say - things actually look pretty good.

All of those machinists and mechanics at American Airlines have very good jobs - but if they lose them - they shouldn't be unemployed for long. Aerospace industry experts say many companies besides American are hiring.

"Most of the aerospace companies that are part of the aerospace alliance in Tulsa are growing," said Mary Smith.

Mary Smith leads the Oklahoma Aerospace Alliance and she's confident American's layoffs will be someone else's new employees.

"I know there's a place for them in the state. One of the concerns we should have in Tulsa is that we want to keep them here. Boeing is growing in Oklahoma City and Tinker is constantly saying they can't get the talent they need. So they'll stay in Oklahoma, just not in Tulsa," Smith said.

Without firm numbers on American layoffs in Tulsa, it's hard for even experts to predict the impact. Some American workers will need retraining to get jobs outside of aerospace - but their chances there too are good - but likely at lower salaries.

02/01/2012 Related Story: AMR Spokesman: 2,100 American Airlines Jobs To Be Cut In Tulsa

"It may require a shift in skills, but most of the American Airlines employees are such talented, skilled people, that the chances for them to stay local and shift into something new I think is an opportunity for us to hold our own," said Dr. Kara Gae Neal of the Tulsa Technology Center.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett says between changing jobs - and careers - the city is confident Tulsa's economy can absorb the layoffs from American.

"The aviation aerospace industry is actually generally doing pretty well. Now we'll see how American shakes out with what they talk about in the next few days, but the aviation industry is good," Bartlett said.

One of the bigger questions as employees try to make the transition is when - and how fast the layoffs will come.

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