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EFSC Playing Key Role in Brevard’s High Tech Renaissance

March 27, 2019 - Eastern Florida State College is playing a key role in the Space Coast’s high tech renassiance through tailored job pathways for students that are helping companies meet a rising need for skilled employees.

Meeting with four people, including EFSC President Dr. Jim RicheyCollege President Dr. Jim Richey outlined the strategy Wednesday during a meeting with high tech and higher education leaders hosted by Florida Trend magazine to discuss progress in the Florida High Tech Corridor.

The Corridor is a 23-county region stretching from Tampa to Brevard County whose members use innovation and research to grow high tech industry and the workforce to support it.

Richey is a member of the Corridor Council, which is comprised of Florida leaders in business and education.

“I think we’re just getting started as a community in new economic growth. This area is so special — there’s a lot more to come,” said Richey.

Richey noted the college is forging partnerships with companies in several ways, including through its programs in aerospace and computer technology.

For instance, students in the two-year Aerospace Technology Degree program are serving apprenticeships with Lockheed Martin on its Orion spacecraft for the human exploration of deep space.

Lockheed has hired 30 of the students after graduation at Kennedy Space Center and wants to hire many more, Lockheed officials said.

Another apprenticeship program with satellite-makers OneWeb and Ruag will further advance the pipeline of skilled college-to-industry workers.

Meeting with 16 participants at tables“That ecosystem between business and higher education is essential” for companies to grow and to attract new high tech companies to Brevard, said Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida, which works to bring aerospace and high tech firms here.

In another area, EFSC is helping meet the swelling demand for cyber security skills through its Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security.

EFSC wants to be among the best colleges in the country in this arena, and is pursuing a special designation as a national Center for Cyber Security & Digital Forensics Education.

The ultimate goal is to achieve the coveted status from the U.S. National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Richey also said the college is placing special emphasis on its Military and Veterans Service Center to help guide veterans into high tech careers, often building on the training they received while in uniform.

“There is a wealth of talent among veterans that provide excellent opportunities for them and employers,” he said.

The other 15 participants at the Port Canaveral meeting included representatives from the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Lockheed Martin, Embraer, Florida Tech and Embry-Riddle University.