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Port's Growth, BCC Partnerships Focus at Conference

June 11, 2013 - Port Canaveral’s plans for continued growth and a call for more partnerships between higher education and business were the focus of a Tuesday conference on the Port’s future at Brevard Community College.

More than 400 businesses leaders from Brevard County and Central Florida marked the Port’s 60th anniversary to discuss expansion plans geared to increase its annual $2.2 billion economic impact in the region.

“The Port continues to create business opportunities and jobs that contribute to the overall quality of life for our community” as the second busiest cruise port in the world, said Port Interim CEO John Walsh.

Richey Port Conference
BCC President Dr. Jim Richey addresses the crowd at the State of Port Canaveral Conference held on the College's Cocoa campus.

New moves underway include efforts to draw more cargo shipping and increase tourism with development of a visitor center, outdoor theater, lodging and more restaurants in The Cove entertainment complex.

The audience also heard BCC President, Dr. Jim Richey, call for expanding college-business partnerships as BCC becomes Eastern Florida State College on July 1 and starts offering Bachelor’s Degrees.

The first two four-year degrees in General Business Management and Health Care Management will begin in August, with eight more Bachelor’s Degrees scheduled to start next year in business, health care and information technologies.

The college’s Corporate Services office also creates tailor-made programs to train workers in high-tech fields such as aviation, making it an important resource for area businesses and industry.

“As you look to the future of your business or organization, know  the college stands ready to work with you and your employees to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the global economy,” said Richey.

“Working together, we can ensure the Brevard and Central Florida economies are strong, robust and armed with a workforce schooled in the art of innovation that will allow our region to lead the way.”

Richey also used the occasion to announce Port internship programs for BCC students in marketing, tourism and business development.

He lauded the programs in thanking Walsh, saying internships “give students valuable real world experience and give businesses a chance to find and nurture future employees.”

Richey added the college’s own $1.1 billion economic impact annually makes it a key local and regional player in economic development and growth.

The conference was held at the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa Campus and included remarks from Tom Weinberg, chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority.

Weinberg said the vision that created the Port in 1953 is alive today with the community benefiting from its international reputation as a cruise industry leader.