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$40 Million Economic Strategies Report by Space Coast Task Force

 

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The President’s Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development was tasked to develop a $40 million investment plan in the Space Coast region as the space shuttle comes to a close.

The task force, co-chaired by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, released yesterday its report to President Barack Obama with four key recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast.  These are as follows:

1. To sustain regional investments already underway including: 
— Retraining resources for displaced workers 
–The Space Shuttle Transition Liaison Office 
— Recovery Act funding for the region, and other government programs 

2. To spur immediate opportunity by: 
— Launching a new Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center 
— Investing $600,000 of the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Small Business Administration FY 2010 budget to support small businesses and industry clusters 
— Holding a federal government job fair for the highly skilled displaced workers 
— Facilitating a technology export exposition hosted by the Department of Commerce to increase access to international markets for small- and medium-sized businesses 

3. To invest in smart economic growth initiatives through a new competitive fund by: 
— Establishing a fast-track competitive grant process through the EDA 

4. To build lasting infrastructure for success by: 
— Engaging a public-private partnership between the federal government, venture capitalists, and corporations to catalyze new, long-term business creation along the Space Coast.

These recommendations were developed after Bolden, Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and several other senior administration officials visited the region several times to meet with area workers and experts; reviewed the Space Coast’s economic assets, employment needs, and development priorities as well as suggestions submitted through a public website.

“Over the past few months, we have worked diligently with local government officials, economic development agencies and affected corporations and employees to develop a comprehensive plan that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs and a strong economic base in the Space Coast,” Locke said.  “Space is a key driver of the 21st century American economy, and that’s why the president believes so strongly in empowering NASA to purse new avenues of discovery.”

The $35million of the investment will be dedicated to a competitive grant process through Commerce’s EDA and will be awarded to the most promising job creation and economic development programs.  Competition scheduled in Sept. 1 . While the $5million will fund a new Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center to support commercial space launch and reentry activities.

"For decades, the dedicated members of the Space Coast workforce have used their wide-ranging talents to safely create, launch, and maintain some of the world’s most complex aerospace and technical systems," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "As we transition to a new era in our national space policy, President Obama has made it a top priority to foster innovation and create job opportunities for those who helped make America the leader in international space exploration. The investments we’re making with these Task Force recommendations are investments in our nation’s most important asset, our skilled workforce." 

Sometime in May this year, President Barack Obama established the task force to lead the initiative to coordinate and implement a plan to grow the region’s economy and prepare its workers for the opportunities of tomorrow.  The $40million, multi-agency initiative builds on and complements ongoing local and federal economic and workforce development efforts.

To view the full task force report, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacecoasttaskforce