Carrie Rengers

Nonexistent Spirit AeroSystems job fair attracts 300 people

'Rosie the Riveter' returns to factory for first time since WWII

Connie Palacioz worked on the B-29 assembly line for Boeing Wichita in the 1940s. On Wednesday, she returned to the same factory building for the first time in over 70 years. Palacioz drilled some of the rivets in the recently restored B-29 “Doc”
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Connie Palacioz worked on the B-29 assembly line for Boeing Wichita in the 1940s. On Wednesday, she returned to the same factory building for the first time in over 70 years. Palacioz drilled some of the rivets in the recently restored B-29 “Doc”

In the old days – you know, like, the early 2000s – old news tended to stay old news. No one carried around copies of newspapers to share years-old stories.

These days, though? You’ve got to verify the date of what you’re reading.

There were a few hundred people probably wishing they had over the weekend when they showed up at Spirit AeroSystems for a job fair that actually took place two years ago.

Here’s what happened:

Two years ago, The Wichita Eagle published a story about an upcoming Spirit job fair. When the event was held, it was so successful, 2,000 people showed up.

“We had people wrapped around our employment building,” says Spirit spokesman Jarrod Bartlett. “We had so many people that day that we couldn’t even get everyone through the process.”

Somehow, the initial story with details of the fair was recently shared again on someone’s Facebook page as if it were a new job fair. Then it was reshared – again and again.

According to data The Eagle collects on page views for its stories, the 2015 article has been clicked on almost 30,000 times in the past couple of weeks.

The Eagle then ran a story to say there was no job fair. That one received only about half as much attention. Spirit tried to get out the word, too.

“You sort of fight social media with social media,” Bartlett says.

It didn’t completely work, though.

“Three hundred people showed up for a job fair that happened two years ago,” Bartlett says. “I think there were some disappointed folks.”

It wasn’t a complete loss, he says. The company took the opportunity to remind them that Spirit is almost always hiring.

“A company of our size, we’re almost always looking for someone just because of normal attrition,” Bartlett says.

Anyone interested can check spiritaero.com/careers.

“It is encouraging and it is refreshing to know that people want to work at Spirit AeroSystems so much so that they’re showing up for a job fair that wasn’t even planned,” Bartlett says.

“This feels like the digital age that we live in,” he says. “I think that we’re all going to have to adjust to just how rapidly something like this catches fire and balloons out of control.”

Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems celebrated its role on the new B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber at an event Friday with contractor Northrop Grumman. (Courtesy of Northrop Grumman/June 2, 2017)

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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