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 its report to President Barack Obama with recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida's Space Coast.
The task force was charged with developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region as the space shuttle program winds down.
After review of the Space Coast's economic assets, employment needs, and development priorities, as well as suggestions submitted through a public website, the task force developed four key recommendations for the president:
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
The majority of the $40 million investment will be dedicated to a fast-track competitive grant process through Commerce's EDA. Thirty-five million dollars in grants will be awarded to the most promising job creation and economic development programs, with competition announced Sept. 1. The additional $5 million will fund a new Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center to support commercial space launch and reentry activities.