The President’s Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, co-chaired by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, today released recommendations to boost economic-development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast.
The task force is responsible for developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region.
Since the launch of the task force, Bolden, Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and several other senior administration officials have visited the region several times to meet with area workers and experts.
“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 pursue new avenues of discovery.”
The task force developed four key recommendations for the president, including sustaining current regional investments. Other recommendations include launching a new Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center and establishing a fast-track competitive grant process through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
Most of the $40 million investment will go toward a fast-track competitive grant process through EDA. Thirty five million dollars in grants will be awarded to the most promising job-creation and economic-development programs. The additional $5 million will pay for the Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center.
In addition to funding set aside in Obama’s 2011 budget for the Space Coast, another $60 million was allocated for other areas across the nation that will be affected by changes to the nation’s space policy, including $45 million for economic development through EDA and another $15 million for job-training activities through the Department of Labor.