EFSC Receives Major Grant to Train Aerospace, High-Tech Workers
Eastern Florida State College has received a nearly $3.8 million state grant to train Floridians for jobs in aerospace and advanced manufacturing as part of a major initiative from Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott announced six Florida Job Growth Grant Fund projects Wednesday totaling $10 million, with Eastern Florida receiving $3.79 million in partnership with Daytona State College.
“Florida’s economic growth is continuing to outpace the nation because of our nonstop focus on creating jobs in every corner of our state. When we created Florida’s Job Growth Grant Fund, we knew that this targeted and transparent approach would pay huge dividends for local communities,” said Scott
“I’m proud to award nearly $10 million more in funding, and look forward to these projects enhancing our ability to meet the growing infrastructure and workforce needs of Florida’s booming private sector.”
Dr. Jim Richey, President of Eastern Florida, called the grant a wise investment in the future that will help provide students excellent career opportunities in fast-growth job fields.
Aerospace, high-tech and advanced manufacturing businesses and industries along the Space Coast will also benefit through a “talent pipeline” of skilled employees into their ranks, he said.
“We’re very grateful to Gov. Scott for this important grant,” said Richey. “It will play a significant role in helping us educate and train a new generation of high-tech workers, including for companies launching a new era of human spaceflight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.”
Under the grant, Eastern Florida will receive $2.575 million for advanced technology equipment, computers and related needs. Daytona State will receive $1.214 million.
The funding comes as aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries are rapidly expanding in Brevard County, ranging from small companies to major space firms such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Trained employees are key to their sustained growth and success, with Eastern Florida playing a central role in making that happen.
Under the grant, EFSC students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree, Associate’s Degree or College Technical Certificate in more than 25 programs.
They include Aerospace Technology, Engineering Technology, Computer Information Technology, Aviation Technology and Robotics.
Still more programs are in Drafting and Design Technology, Machinist-Fabricator, Welding and Mechatronics, a burgeoning field that combines mechanical engineering, electronics and computing concepts for product design and manufacturing processes.
Students can study in new facilities that include an Advanced Manufacturing Center on the Cocoa Campus and Aviation Center at Melbourne International Airport.
Money from the grant will also be used to ramp-up a new Robotics Lab on the Palm Bay Campus, and a new Mechatronics Lab on the Cocoa Campus.
“We have some of the best facilities of their kind in the state, allowing students to train on the same type of equipment they will find in the workplace,” said Richey.
Other grants announced by Scott include the following:
- Baker County: $2.297 million to create an access road to the Woodstock Industrial Park for advanced manufacturing and distribution projects.
- Johns River State College: $1,383 millon to expand an advanced manufacturing and robotics training program that will support local manufacturing training, economic development and job growth for Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
- Florida Gateway College: $860,000 to enhance current workforce training programs for Aviation Powerplant Mechanics and Aviation Airframe Maintenance to fill a statewide need.
- Charlotte County: $800,000 for the Piper Road Extension and infrastructure improvements leading into one of Charlotte County’s largest industrial parks, the Punta Gorda Interstate Airport Park.
- Florida State College at Jacksonville: $710,352 to enhance the Northeast Florida Advanced Manufacturing & Logistic Job Growth program, which collaborates with more than 300 employers in the high-growth industries of advanced manufacturing and logistics.
The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, established by Scott and the Florida Legislature last year, provides $85 million for improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training in Florida.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has received more than 246 proposals requesting more than $866 million in funding.
Wednesday’s announcement reflects a total of nearly $70 million in funding awarded to 27 communities across the state to promote infrastructure and job training since 2017.