More than 8,000 highly skilled workers are already or will soon be out of jobs. A heavily populated region is losing what’s been a crucial sector for decades. What to do next?
Consultants from EMSI have joined Linda Fowler and Ed Morrison in pondering that question and helping develop strategies to spur promising new business development for the Central Florida economy after the shuttering of NASA’s space shuttle program.
Tuesday, the consulting team held a workshop in Brevard County to discuss the results of EMSI’s data analysis and the next steps that need to be taken to help the Space Coast regroup. A reporter from Florida Today recounted the key takeaways from the workshop in this article:
“It was great that Brevard was part of shuttle history, but it’s just that. It’s history now,” said Ed Morrison, a consultant with Strategy-Nets and the Purdue Center for Regional Development. “So, where are we going next? What’s our next opportunity? We’ve got to construct that narrative.”
The narrative centers on five industry sectors already identified as offering the best potential for job growth across Central Florida: clean energy, defense, life sciences, information technology and aerospace.
Morrison and partner Linda Fowler, president and founder of Bethesda, Md.-based Regionerate, are encouraging the creation of clusters of local business, academic and public sector leaders who can identify and act on opportunities in those sectors.
EMSI examined all five sectors and provided key data points tailored to the Space Coast for each. Here’s a brief summary from Florida Today:
Brevard was listed among the fastest growing Central Florida counties in clean energy; information technology and telecommunications; and homeland security/defense. Projected job growth in each sector ranged from fewer than 1,000 to nearly 14,000 through 2015, with hourly wages between $21 and $30.
Aerospace: Hourly wage $30; new jobs 3,113
Bio-Life Sciences: Hourly wage $21; new jobs 671
Clean Energy: Hourly wage $24; new jobs 6,700
IT and Telecom: Hourly wage $25; new jobs 13,810
Homeland Security/Defense: Hourly wage $21; new jobs 4,740
— Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc
Illustration by Mark Beauchamp