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Leaders Meet at EFSC on Critical High-Tech Workforce Needs

View the conference photo album on Flickr.

June 12, 2022 - State and regional leaders in government, higher education and industry gathered Friday at Eastern Florida State College to discuss the need to expand the high-tech workforce along the Space Coast.

Henry Mack, with others seated behind him, speaks into a microphone
Henry Mack, Senior Chancellor of the Florida Department of Education, addresses the conference. Seated next to him is Dr. Jim Richey, President of EFSC.

The meeting was led by Henry Mack, Senior Chancellor of the Florida Department of Education, amid continuing growth in aerospace, defense and other high-tech industries in Brevard County.

Local success in increasing the ranks of their employees is an important part of Gov. Ron DeSantis' initiative to make Florida the national leader in high-tech workforce development, opening the door for more economic and job growth.

About 50 attendees heard calls for additional training in fields such as aerospace and engineering technology, aviation, advanced manufacturing, computer technologies, robotics and composites fabrication.

Demand for employees in those areas is strong, with EFSC programs playing a critical role in creating a pipeline of skilled workers.

"I’m determined to make Gov. DeSantis’ initiative a huge success on the Space Coast, and grateful for his leadership in tasking Senior Chancellor Mack to guide us through the process," said EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey.

"His experience in workforce development is invaluable in making sure Florida has the number one workforce in the country in the next few years."

Other attendees included Kathy Hebda, Chancellor of the Florida Division of Colleges; Michael Ferro, Executive Office of the Governor; State Sen. Debbie Mayfield; and Florida and local economic development officials.

Dr. Richey addresses conference attendees seated at tables in the shape of a U
EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey speaks to conference attendees.

Representatives from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Airbus US and other companies also participated along with officials from Daytona State College and Indian River State College.

EFSC's workforce training efforts recently received a significant boost with the Florida Legislature and DeSantis awarding EFSC nearly $21 million in funding for a pair of major new high-tech centers.

They are a Center for Innovative Technology Education on the Melbourne Campus and an Aerospace Center of Excellence on the Titusville Campus.

In April, the college also announced a 10-year plan to invest $87 million in its Cocoa Campus, with a major focus on high-tech training programs and new facilities to support them, including an Advanced Manufacturing Center.