Obama's Space Coast Workforce Task Force Issues Report

Obama's Space Coast Workforce Task Force Issues Report

The task force on how to help Florida’s Space Coast workforce transition to a new era of human spaceflight issued its report today. President Obama directed that the task force be created in his April 15, 2010 speech at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

The Presidential Task Force on Space Industry Workforce & Economic Development was co-chaired by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. Eleven other government departments, agencies and offices were represented in the group.

The President pledged $40 million to help the Space Coast workforce, and charged the task force with deternining how best to spend it. A NASA press release explains that the task force’s recommendation is to use $35 million for a competitive grants program to be announced on September 1 by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The other $5 million will fund a Commercial Spaceflight Technical Center at KSC to support the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportaton’s development of standards and regulations for commercial space launch activities.

The report emphasizes that the federal government already has invested “significantly” in the region, such as a $15 million National Emergency Grant by the Department of Labor earlier this year, NASA’s creation of a Space Shuttle Transition Liaison Office, and a Department of Commerce investment of $7.5 million to “accelerate investments and infrastructure development in support of regional innovation clusters.” The stimulus bill also obligated $19.2 billion to Florida, including $26 million that NASA directed to KSC, according to the task force.

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