Space Coast Task Force Delivers Economic Strategies Report
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. Bolden, Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and several other senior administration officials visited the region several times since the creation of the task force to meet with area workers and experts.

"Over the past few months, we have worked diligently with local government officials, economic development agencies and affected corporations and employees to develop a comprehensive plan that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs and a strong economic base in the Space Coast," Locke said. "Space is a key driver of the 21st century American economy, and that's why the president believes so strongly in empowering NASA to pursue new avenues of discovery." 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.

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. "For decades, the dedicated members of the Space Coast workforce have used their wide-ranging talents to safely create, launch, and maintain some of the world's most complex aerospace and technical systems," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. 

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