Boeing plans to increase workforce in Long Beach, Seal Beach

The addition of highly skilled engineering jobs is expected to provide an economic boost to the Southland and Long Beach. Above, a 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac at the Boeing plant in Long Beach. (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times / March 14, 2012)

By W.J. Hennigan
April 10, 2014, 5:22 p.m.

After years of eliminating jobs in Southern California, aerospace giant Boeing Co. announced plans to increase its engineering workforce in Long Beach and Seal Beach by 1,000 positions.

It is a rare and welcome development for the Southland’s beleaguered aerospace industry, which has been stung by layoffs and assembly line closures for decades.

“I couldn’t be happier for the region,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said. “We want to continue to carry on our aviation tradition here.”

On Thursday, Boeing signaled its intentions to reinforce its presence in the region. The company said it will slowly add employees over the next two years as part of expansion of a new engineering design center for commercial aircraft that was established last year.

The addition of highly skilled engineering jobs is expected to provide an economic boost to the Southland and Long Beach, which was left reeling when Boeing announced massive layoffs resulting from next year’s closure of its C-17 production line.

Employees at the center will provide engineering support and solve technical problems for airlines worldwide that fly Boeing jetliners. This new work in Long Beach would help rekindle the city’s long legacy of commercial airplane development that all but dried up when the last Boeing 717 rolled off assembly lines there in 2006.

The Long Beach site was built by Douglas Aircraft Co. and still has a large “Fly DC Jets” sign in front. It thrived for decades, employing thousands and producing some of the world’s most popular airliners, including the DC-3, DC-8 and MD-80.

Boeing currently builds the C-17 cargo jet for the Air Force on the site. On Monday, the company said it would close production by mid-2015 — three months earlier than originally planned. About 2,200 employees support the program in California.

Boeing began C-17 workforce reductions this year and plans to continue the cuts through next year’s closure.

The incoming engineers will be spread among Boeing’s engineering offices near Long Beach Airport and on the firm’s 45-acre campus near Seal Beach Boulevard and Westminster Avenue in Seal Beach.

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