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Brevard approved for training program that exposes workforce to microgravity environment

Press Release From: Brevard Workforce Development Board
Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rockledge, Florida -- Seventy-five Florida aerospace engineers, technicians and scientists will gain first-hand knowledge of spaceflight working conditions under a new state-sponsored initiative aimed at preparing the workforce for the next-generation of commercial and government space programs. The Microgravity Training Program will include a mix of classroom, web-based, and in-flight training to introduce workers to the challenges of developing and operating systems in the weightless environment of space.

"As the Space Shuttle moves toward retirement, Florida must diversify its space industry to include greater involvement in manufacturing, research, and spaceflight operations," said Workforce Florida President Chris Hart. "We will need a specially trained workforce to support emerging exploration and commercial spaceflight opportunities."

Workforce Florida has approved a $500,000 grant to the Brevard Workforce Development Board, Inc. (BWDB) to provide the training opportunities to qualified workers from around the state. Brevard Community College (BCC), SpaceTEC, a Florida-based national aerospace technical training center and Zero Gravity Corp (Zero-G) will develop and administer the training during the first half of 2008.

"With a few exceptions, Florida's role in space has largely been limited to launching rockets," said SpaceTEC Executive Director Frank Margiotta. "We want to develop a cadre of workers who have unique qualifications to support other space R&D and technology development programs that Florida can capture in the future."

Participation will be limited to incumbent workers who complete a competitive application process. The organizers plan to match applicant skills and aspirations with industry-developed training requirements.

"There's no shortage of opportunities for Florida's space industry, and there are several programs that could derive a near-term benefit from this initiative," said BWDB President Lisa Rice. "Companies like Zero-G, SpaceX and others are supplementing their commercial operations with NASA contracts that could bring new business to the state."

Workforce Florida, Inc. (WFI) is the state's chief workforce policy organization and principal architect in the efforts to meet the current and future workforce needs and challenges of Florida's businesses and citizens. WFI is a state partner, along with the Agency for Workforce Innovation, in the Employ Florida affiliate network of 24 business-led regional workforce boards and nearly 100 one-stop centers that provide employment solutions throughout Florida.

Brevard Workforce Development Board Inc.'s administers workforce development programs throughout Brevard County. A funding, policy and oversight agency, BWDB focuses on improving the quality of Brevard County's workforce; reducing welfare dependency and enhancing workforce productivity and competitiveness. Funding for programs to achieve these goals is obtained through the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Florida Workforce Innovation Act, the Welfare Transition Program and through winning a variety of grants offered through both the public and private sectors.

For more information about Brevard Workforce Development Board, Inc., contact Joan Van Scyoc, communications director at (321) 394-0512 or visit us on the web at www.bwdb.org and www.brevardjoblink.org . Learn more about Florida's workforce resources and solutions by accessing the Employ Florida link on the Brevard Job Link web site.

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