Shutdown makes it difficult for NASA to attract young talent, says tech labor leader


Labor leader Paul Shearon on Tuesday said the ongoing partial government shutdown makes the prospect of working at a federal agency such as NASA less appealing for young workers.

“NASA has been a very attractive place for people to go to work,” Shearon, the president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.” 

“If you’re a young person coming out of college today, and you’ve got maybe an advanced degree in engineering or science, and you take a look and you say wait a second, how could it possibly be that NASA scientists are not working, and they’re at home not getting paid? That’s not what I went to school for,” he continued. “My love of science is far greater than my love for my employer.”

“So I think it starts to get a little tricky attracting young workers,” he said. 

Ninety-five percent of NASA’s employees are currently on furlough or unpaid leave. 

Shearon’s comments come as there appears to be no end in sight to the government shutdown, which is in its third week. 

The Trump administration has been unable to reach a deal with Democrats to reopen parts of the federal government amid President Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding to construct a border wall. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in border security measures, but the two sides have made little progress in their negotiations. 

The president is slated to discuss the shutdown in a nationwide address on Tuesday evening 

— Julia Manchester

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