Economic and workforce developers along Florida’s Space Coast are feverishly working to stay out in front of the impending closure of the Kennedy Space Center’s shuttle program. When the program ends — which is expected to happen later this year — more than 7,000 space workers will lose their jobs.
Florida Today has a fantastic article on the work taking place in advance of the mass layoffs. The two main figures in the story are Ed Morrison and Linda Fowler (who we featured recently in this Q&A). EMSI worked extensively with both in the Milwaukee project mentioned throughout the article.
It’s a similar story in Milwaukee, where the team led a series of workshops over a roughly two-year period following layoffs at several large auto and other manufacturing plants.
Morrison and Fowler helped leaders refocus their attention on the emerging freshwater technology industry and form a cluster of water-technology companies, said Michael Mortell, coordinator of southeast Wisconsin’s Regional Workforce Alliance.
Rood with Brevard Workforce said a collaborative approach is just what the Space Coast needs. “Many non-profits have been talking about what’s happening with the slowdown of the work at the space center . . .(in) sort of a circular action, but I haven’t seen any plans or action items,” Rood said.
“We have an EOC (Emergency Operations Center) for when a hurricane hits and the EOC has a plan of action,” Rood said. “Well, I liken the slowdown at the space center to an economic hurricane. What is our plan of action? Who is tasked to do what?”
Meanwhile, Ed has a post on his website about the Florida situation in which he discusses how the traditional workforce development system is not “geared for the deep transformations taking place in our economy today.” The Space Coast, no doubt, will be in need of a major transformation.