Bulk of $40M Promised for Fla. Will Foster New Jobs

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A White House-appointed task force established to pump $40 million into central Florida’s space economy will not deliver a detailed spending plan for the money until Aug. 15, but NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the bulk of it would be used to attract new jobs to the Kennedy Space Center region while providing training and other employment services for workers facing layoffs when the space shuttle retires later this year.

“Our plan is to devote approximately $30 million to spur regional economic growth in the area surrounding the Kennedy Space Center and $10 million for job training activities in this area,” Bolden said during a June 4 panel discussion in Orlando, Fla.

Bolden, who co-chairs the task force with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, said 324 Kennedy Space Center employees, almost all contractors, have received job-search counseling from four area work force transition offices the agency established in March. But while the task force continues short-term efforts to match aerospace contractors with new employment opportunities, its primary goal is to promote sustainable job growth in central Florida.

“The long-term solution is to spur economic growth and diversification in the areas affected by ending the space shuttle and Constellation programs and ensure that the workers are suited to perform new work that results,” Bolden said.