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More than 100 workers impacted in L3 Crestview Aerospace layoff

More than 100 workers affected in L3 layoff

More than 100 highly skilled and technically trained contractors at an Okaloosa County aerospace facility have been laid off.

L3 Crestview Aerospace assembles and repairs aircraft and even fabricates parts for them.

Lance Martin, an L3 Crestview Aerospace spokesman, said the layoffs are result of not enough work available.

Martin said the laid off employees will receive severance packages and information on other job opportunities within the company.

Nathan Sparks, executive director for the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, said these workers contribute a lot to local economy.

L3 announced 130 were being let go. Sparks said this is a big blow to the local and regional economy.

"Many of these 130 individuals commute from around the region, around Northwest Florida, so the impact certainly will be felt beyond Crestview and beyond Okaloosa County," Sparks said.

He said while the layoffs are unfortunate they're not necessarily uncommon.

He argued the defense contractor world is very cyclical and has not trended upward because of military cuts.

One of the challenges is ensuring a seamless transition between contracts.

He said, "When one contract is completed or is deferred if there's not another contract to replace it right behind that one then people are left idle and company's obviously can't afford to pay people not to work so that's the situation we have right here."

Northwest Florida First Congressional District Representative Matt Gaetz wants to see lawmakers approve President Trump's budget which would dramatically increase defense spending.

"This job lost in Northwest Florida is in part a consequence of a defense sequester environment that we've gotten be of for the sake of our country and the sake of our local economy," Rep. Gaetz said.

Sparks said there's about 300 defense contracting companies in Okaloosa County that could help those left without a job.

"There are essentially 299 other companies that are serving our military war fighter, and hopefully many of those companies are in a different cycle in respect to contracts and many of them I think will be well served to consider the talented men and women who've been impacted today from L3 Crestview Aerospace," said Sparks.

Sparks sees lots of optimism in the future since President Trump made increased military spending a priority.

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