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EFSC Gets $1 Million Grant to Train High-Tech Workers

July 6, 2016 - Eastern Florida State College has been awarded a nearly $1 million federal grant to help train workers in the advanced manufacturing and information technology fields.

The college received the funds from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the Florida East Coast High Tech consortium that includes Daytona State College and Florida State College Jacksonville.

In all, the consortium was awarded $3.7 million to train 400 current workers, young adults and the unemployed during the next four years. EFSC has been tasked to train 133 of those individuals.

"The grant is an important component to our mission at Eastern Florida State College, where a major priority is training the next-generation workforce for the rapidly growing aviation, commercial space and advanced manufacturing industries on the Space Coast," said EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey. "Working with our partners in the consortium enhances the grant's value even more."

The Space Coast is currently experiencing job growth in a number of fields where advanced manufacturing and information technology skills are in demand and where the EFSC grant could pay big dividends for students.

For instance, Melbourne International Airport’s fast-growing commercial aviation sector includes companies such as Embraer that are ramping up production of corporate jets.

AeroMod International, an industry leader in airplane structural modification and repairs, is also moving its national headquarters to the Melbourne airport.

Together, those and other airport-based companies expect to hire several hundred more workers the next few years.

Meanwhile, the commercial space industry is taking flight at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Blue Origin, headed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is building a large KSC plant to build rockets that will carry people and cargo into orbit. An estimated 300 jobs will be created.

Internet satellite constellation operator OneWeb is also building a KSC plant to construct about 900 satellites and expects to hire about 250 engineers and technicians.

Other large and small high-tech Brevard County companies are also expanding and seeking specialized workers.

“There are real opportunities for people with the right skills to get into this job market and have a great career. The grant helps us get them there,” said Richey.

Eastern Florida will be adding credit and non-credit classes that will offer industry certifications, hands-on experience with computerized machining and welding, traditional system analytics, cyber security and internships.

Classes will begin this fall on the Cocoa and Palm Bay campuses.

EFSC’s grant is part of the Department of Labor’s $150 million H-1B TechHire grant program that is being awarded to 39 partnerships for training in 25 states. Officials estimate more than 18,000 participants will receive training nationally through the program.

For more information, contact Frank Margiotta, EFSC’s Dean of Workforce Programs, at (321) 433-7515 or margiottaf@easternflorida.edu