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EFSC Adds New Composites Center Designation to Support Pentagon, High-Tech Innovation

July 29, 2021 - Eastern Florida State College has been designated as a new national Advanced Composites Learning Center to train technicians in support of Pentagon and Space Coast high-tech initiatives.

Led by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), the federal grant-funded initiative is part of a Department of Defense program to prepare current and next-generation manufacturing workers to produce military systems and components.

EFSC Aerospace Technology Lab
Students in EFSC's Cocoa Campus Aerospace Technology lab are among those who will benefit from the enhanced composite materials manufacturing initiative.

The goal is to help ensure that Pentagon and high-tech companies maintain global leadership in fields where advanced composites play a key role in cutting-edge innovation, made possible by combining materials in the manufacturing process to improve performance and lower production costs.

EFSC was chosen because it’s located in an area “with a high concentration of defense, space, aerospace and marine industries that support Pentagon projects vital to the economy and national security,” said Joannie Harmon, Workforce Director for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.

The designation allows EFSC to greatly enhance the college’s existing composite labs with courses in Aerospace Technology, Engineering Technology and Advanced Manufacturing taught on the Cocoa and Palm Bay campuses.

“The center designation further strengthens our leading role in training a new generation of highly skilled workers for the Department of Defense, NASA and high-tech companies,” said EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey.

“The sky is the limit on what we can accomplish through such programs with our valued partners in the civilian and military sectors.”

Similar learning centers are underway at Enterprise State Community College in Alabama and the Composites Prototyping Center in New York.

EFSC instructor at Composites workshop
EFSC Mechatronics Instructor Jean Paul Aliaga, left, and SCCAP's Bryan Kamm receive hands-on composites technician training at Davis Tech in Utah on July 28, 2021 as part of the IACMI's Advanced Composites Career Pathways program.

The new initiative also includes professional development opportunities for faculty to learn the latest techniques and processes in the composites industry.

EFSC Engineering Technology Associate Professor Meer Almeer, EFSC Aerospace and Engineering Instructor Ted Hartselle, EFSC Mechatronics Instructor Jean Paul Aliaga, and Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program (SCCAP) founder Bryan Kamm are at Davis Technical College in Kaysville, Utah, participating in a week-long train-the-trainer course to become more familiar with the benefits of the enhanced composites curriculum.

The EFSC center is a perfect fit for its work with local high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies to train workers and often provide apprenticeships through the SCCAP and industry partnerships.

The companies include Knights Armament, Airbus One Web Satellites, Blue Origin, Vaya Space, RUAG Space USA, Diamondback America, ITT/Matrix Composites, Structural Composites, Compsys, Precision Shapes and Roswell Marine.