With the upcoming changes at NASA and our national space vision, thousands of direct jobs will be lost and thousands more will be threatened as the impact ripples through the programs' supply chains and into the communities surrounding the spaceport.
For the past several months, Florida’s space program after Shuttle Program end has been top priority for state and federal legislators. With the visit from President Obama in April, the White House announced their vision for space which focuses the future on commercial rockets that will take astronauts to the International Space Station. The new future for Florida, and in particular Kennedy Space Center, includes a variety of new proposals (pending Congressional approval) that give the central Florida region hope for new jobs and a revised space vision. This includes Commercial Crew Development, a 21st Century Launch Complex, flagship technology demonstrations and an additional three months of Shuttle Program funding.
More than $31 million has just been approved (April 2010) by the Florida Legislature for economic development in high tech sectors including retaining and expanding Florida’s space industry. A recent business summit in Brevard with local business leaders offered businesses a chance to identify tactical strategies they can implement to collectively create opportunities that help the community best manage job losses and change. These initiatives, programs and goals, along with the many efforts underway regionally to identify new business opportunities and job growth, will help aerospace workers transition for the next phase of their career and help Brevard remain a strong community.
Some regional activities include:
- Regional Aerospace Workforce Initiative - A regional multi-stakeholder group, co-sponsored by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, with a mission to identify and promote job alternatives for space workers.
- Florida Space & Technology Forum - A regional/statewide meeting of legislative and congressional leaders to discuss space policy priorities.
- Brevard Workforce Express - A mobile workforce services project supported by Kennedy Space Center and co-sponsored by corporate partners brings services directly to space contractor job sites.
- Florida Aerospace Resource Center - A Workforce Florida-sponsored "Banner Center" devoted to aerospace workforce development
- KSC Office - An on-site Brevard Workforce office at Kennedy Space Center to expedite and facilitate outreach/services to the space contractor workforce.
- Space Business Development Group - A biweekly discussion group of space policy leaders, to strategize on state and federal initiatives aimed at expanding and diversifying the state's space enterprise.
- Aerospace Career & Development Council - A regional/statewide organization that meets bi-monthly to discuss and develop space-related policy priorities.
- Save Space - A grassroots letter-writing campaign to the White House, which urged the president to implement campaign promises that would protect aerospace jobs and retain critical skills for the nation's space program. Save Space has initiated rallies and been instrumental in elevating Florida’s space industry concerns.
- SpaceTEC - A national aerospace technician training and certification initiative, aimed at credentialing workers who have gained critical skills through hands-on experience in the aerospace industry.
- Embry-Riddle Collaboration - contracting with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to receive ongoing support for policy advocacy and coordination, including various forms of outreach and coordination.
- Economic Development - Brevard Workforce is working with local and state economic development organizations as they attempt to recruit new aerospace businesses to Brevard County with workforce-oriented incentives. The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast works to diversity our economy and to mitigate expected changes in the aerospace industry. They have aligned resources and actions with an aggressive three-year strategic plan that includes four critical priorities: business development, creating a competitive business environment, marketing and communications, and resource development and allocation. From these strategic priorities they will strive to achieve three measurable