As part of the Job Growth Grant Fund for Florida, Governor Rick Scott announced funding of more than $10 million for colleges in the state to improve their facilities to better prepare students for careers in aerospace and manufacturing. One of the main beneficiaries of the grant was Eastern Florida State College located in Brevard county which received $2.6 million to train students for jobs in the aerospace and hi-tech manufacturing sectors. Many of the leading organizations in the aerospace and hi-tech sector like the Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Lockheed Martin and Harris Corp are located within Brevard county.
With leading companies in space exploration such as Space X and Blue Origin regularly launching flights from the Florida coast, jobs in the aerospace sector are likely to increase. These companies require highly skilled employees who are trained in the latest technologies and colleges like EFSC provide rigorous training to their students to bridge the skills gap in hi-tech manufacturing activities immediately after graduating.The grant for EFSC was received jointly with the Daytona State college.
EFSC president Jim Richey welcomed the grant, saying that it is an excellent investment in the future as it will help the students get better opportunities in the fast growing hi-tech aerospace manufacturing sector. “It will play a significant role in helping us educate and train a new generation of high-tech workers, including for companies launching a new era of human spaceflight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center,” Richey said.
EFSC has a total of four campuses in Florida and part of the grant will be used to develop a Robotics lab at the Palm Bay campus. A portion of the grant will fund a new Mechatronics lab at the Cocoa Campus, located within Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Mechatronics is a relatively new specialization which combines mechanical engineering with electronics and computers to design sophisticated products and improve manufacturing.
Thanks the the facilities funded by this grant, students at EFSC can earn a College Technical Certificate, Bachelor’s degree or Associates degree in as many as 25 different fields of specialization. Some of the courses offered include Engineering Technology, Aerospace, Aviation, Machining, Drafting and Design, Computer Information, Robotics, Mechatronics, Welding and Fabrication. Dr. Richey claimed that the college had some of the best facilities in the state and will mirror the facilities found in the companies which employ the students, boosting their productivity.
The Grant Fund for Florida Job Growth was jointly established in 2018 by the Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state legislature. It provides $85 million to improve training facilities for the workforce and infrastructure of public facilities. The State Department of Economic Opportunities had received more than 246 proposals for funding and has approved $70 million in grants. In addition to EFSC, other colleges who will benefit from the grants include State Colleges of Daytona, St Johns River, Florida and Florida Gateway College.