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Department of Education Chancellor O’Farrell Visits EFSC
September 1, 2022 - Florida Department of Education Chancellor Dr. Kevin O’Farrell visited Eastern Florida State College on Thursday, touring facilities on the Cocoa Campus and learning more about EFSC’s key workforce programs.
O’Farrell, who is the Chancellor for Career, Technical and Adult Education, visited labs and spoke with students in Aerospace Technology, Mechatronics, Computerized Machining, Welding and HVAC.
He also received a briefing on the college’s new 10-year master plan for the Cocoa Campus that will invest $87 million to construct new academic buildings for high-tech and STEM programs, including a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center.
"Eastern Florida State College is doing an outstanding job preparing students for careers in a range of in-demand fields and partnering with local business and industry leaders, often tailoring programs to meet specific needs to ensure student success," said O’Farrell.
Dr. Randy Fletcher, EFSC’s Vice President for Academic and Students Affairs and Chief Learning Officer, said O’Farrell had the opportunity to see how students in the programs "are getting jobs as quickly as they can complete the curriculum."
"The labs we have created in all of our advanced technology programs are state-of-the-art, and when we combine that with quality, hands-on instruction from faculty with proven industry experience, the learning and skills students acquire is extraordinary."
"EFSC has begun to set itself apart in the quality, job-ready training we provide to the residents of Brevard County and the entire Space Coast," he said.
O’Farrell is the third top Florida education leader to visit EFSC in recent months.
In June, Henry Mack, Senior Chancellor of the Florida Department of Education, chaired a conference of Space Coast high-tech and economic development officials on the Melbourne Campus to discuss training more workers in fields such as the commercial space and defense industries.
In June, Kathy Hebda, Chancellor of the Florida College System, toured new facilities such as the Health Sciences Institute on the Melbourne Campus and talked with students.
EFSC’s central role in workforce education received an important boost earlier this year when the Florida Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved $21 million in funding for a pair of major new high-tech centers.
They are a Center for Innovative Technology Education (CITE) on the Melbourne Campus and an Aerospace Center of Excellence (ACE) on the Titusville Campus.
The CITE is designed to meet the urgent need for more technical support staff for rapidly growing and changing industries. The facility will feature labs that can be easily configured to provide students with the access to software used by high-tech employers.
The approach will bring together cutting-edge equipment, course work and students working in teams to simulate working environments and the best practices used by industry.
Importantly, training can be tailored to the specific needs of individual companies, giving them a go-to place to expand their workforce and provide continuing education for existing staffs. It can also help start-ups get their footing as they begin building their technical teams.
The ACE will provide a location to expand the college’s Aerospace Technology program to the Titusville Campus, which is ideally situated adjacent to Kennedy Space Center.
The program is based on the Cocoa Campus and will remain centered there, with Cocoa students often serving apprenticeships at KSC that lead to jobs immediately upon graduation.
With a bevy of new commercial space companies locating near Titusville, ACE will provide a much-needed training ground for North Brevard students and allow the Aerospace Technology two-year degree program to double in size.