(Rockledge, FL) – Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) met with local economic leaders to discuss ideas to be presented to the Presidential Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development. The panel of local officials, including Space Florida President Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Coast EDC Lynda Weatherman, Brevard Workforce President Lisa Rice, and Dale Ketcham, Consultant for Spaceport Research and Technical Institute at UCF, discussed efforts being taken to maintain the Space Coast’s highly-skilled workforce and diversify the local economy.

“We must explore every possible option for creating new job opportunities along the Space Coast to preserve our community’s highly-skilled workforce,” said Suzanne Kosmas “I have made it a priority to ensure that those on the local level are able to create and implement the vision for our community’s future. We have a great opportunity to strengthen and diversify the Space Coast’s economy and I will make sure that small businesses, industry and academia have a voice in the process.”

Kosmas and the panel discussed numerous ideas for preserving jobs, including supporting small businesses and new entrepreneurs, encouraging additional federal procurement work and making sure policies are in place to maximize the growth of emerging industries.

The Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development was established by President Obama earlier this year and is co-chaired by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. The Taskforce is charged with developing, in collaboration with local stakeholders, an interagency action plan to enhance economic development strategies and plans along the Space Coast and affected aerospace communities. Members of the public are encouraged to provide ideas and feedback through the Task Force’s website: http://www.nasa.gov/spacecoasttaskforce.

Congresswoman Kosmas’ has been focused on efforts to support, preserve, and maximize the Space Coast’s highly skilled workforce. In addition to introducing legislation to minimize the spaceflight gap and maintain a robust human spaceflight program, Kosmas has passed multiple amendments to assist local high-tech small businesses, encouraged the Department of Defense to bring new work to the Space Coast, and secured millions in funding for the Brevard Workforce Development Board to assist aerospace workers affected by Shuttle retirement.