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BCC's SpaceTEC Launches New Economic Development Mission
July 12, 2012 - Brevard Community College’s close link with the nation’s space program dates to when both were just getting off the ground at the dawn of the Space Age.
Since then, the College has trained thousands of NASA and contractor workers at nearby Kennedy Space Center with its National Resource Center for Aerospace Technical Education — called SpaceTEC — playing a central part the past decade.
Now, the end of NASA’s shuttle program is bringing change to the center as it expands its mission to include an important new economic development role for the Space Coast: Training the workforce for new jobs in manufacturing, aviation, biotechnology and other fields to help retool the Space Coast’s post-shuttle economy and grow business and industry.
To accomplish that goal, the center has moved from its former Kennedy Space Center home to a new location in the city of Cape Canaveral to more easily serve workers, employers and the public.
The center will unveil its new facility during a July 18 open house that will feature faculty and staff discussing the programs available and how SpaceTEC can help Brevard workers find new careers.
“The center has done a superb job training space workers and will continue providing that service as NASA and the nation’s space program move into a new era,” said BCC President, Dr. Jim Richey.
“It’s bringing that nationally-recognized expertise to its expanded role, which is critical in helping the Brevard County economy create high-skilled jobs in many new fields. This is an exciting opportunity for the center, its students and the community.”
SpaceTEC is affiliated with the National Science Foundation and a national consortium of colleges, industries and businesses groups.
That heft is a unique resource that Brevard should put to good use as it diversifies its economy, said Dr. Al Koller, the center’s executive director.
“We’re going to use the best practices learned from the space program as we branch out to train a new generation of high-tech technicians,” said Koller.
“Former shuttle workers, veterans returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, those looking to change careers and young people just entering the job market all can benefit from our training.
“We’re also reaching out to create new business partnerships to assist companies in training their workers in the same way we’ve worked hand-in-hand with leading aerospace companies for many years.”
The potential for SpaceTEC success in this new arena is shown by its strong record since 2002.
For example, 85 percent of the students who have taken its technician certification training or BCC courses that lead to an associate degree in aerospace technology have graduated.
More than 90 percent of those graduates have then gotten jobs with companies like Boeing and United Space Alliance.
“We’re confident we can reach that same level of achievement under our new charter in fields other than space,” said Koller. “We’re eager to start.”
The center’s July 18 open house is scheduled from 10 AM to 2 PM.
SpaceTEC is located at 7099 N. Atlantic Ave., Suite 300, Cape Canaveral, FL. To learn
more, visit its Website at www.spacetec.org or call 321-730-1020.