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U.S. Economic Development Administration News

Contact: John Atwood, 202-482-4085
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

U.S. Commerce Department Invests $569,000 to Strengthen Florida Space Coast

WASHINGTON - U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matthew S. Erskine today announced two Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants totaling $569,000 to help strengthen the Florida Space Coast economy and create new jobs.

"These latest investments in the Space Coast region demonstrate the Obama Administration's commitment to strengthening U.S. infrastructure and promoting job growth" Erskine said. "These grants provide additional resources to Florida that will help create jobs and revitalize a critical foundation of a 21st century economy, and an economy built to last."

The first grant provides $350,000 to Space Florida of Orlando to develop a repurposing study on supporting commercial space activity to help refocus the mission of the existing Space Life Sciences Laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center. The investment will help Space Florida capitalize on the Space Coast region's competitive strengths in high-technology skills and energy cluster assets and increase the number of high-skill, high-wage job opportunities for the region.

"Exciting opportunities are on the horizon for both NASA and commercial customers as they prepare to send research payloads to the International Space Station. Microgravity research aboard the ISS National Lab has significant potential to benefit lives here on Earth and the Space Life Science Laboratory will be the location where that research is readied for launch," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello.

The second grant provides $219,000 to Space Coast Energy Consortium Inc. of Cape Canaveral to help develop a legal, technical, and financial framework for the implementation of Florida's PACE commercial energy efficiency financing program for Brevard County. The $40 million loan pool, which would support renewable and energy efficiency retrofitting, could result in 450 new jobs and could help employ technical workers being laid off at the Kennedy Space Center, according to the grantee.

"With the building science best practices from Florida Solar Energy Center, robust training programs from the Workforce Florida Banner Center for Clean Energy and Brevard Workforce and financial start-up support provided by this grant award, our region has all the elements in place to build an energy efficiency program that will stimulate a substantial and meaningful flow of private sector economic activity and new job creation, said Space Coast Energy Consortium Inc. Executive Director Michael L. Aller.

The Obama Administration continues to invest in Florida to foster job creation. In September 2011, four Brevard County-based economic development organizations-Space Florida, the Space Coast Energy Consortium, Brevard Workforce, and the Technological Research and Development Association-were awarded $2.2 million from the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a joint effort underwritten by the Departments of Commerce and Labor and the U.S. Small Business Administration. That same month, the Igniting Innovation Cleantech Acceleration Network was awarded more than $1.1 million in federal funds from EDA and the Department of Energy to accelerate the commercialization of clean technology. This award, made under the federal i6 Green Challenge, focuses on Brevard and three neighboring counties in Florida. Additionally, EDA recently awarded more than $2.8 million to the City of Palm Bay, Florida, to make critical roadway infrastructure improvements needed to help a major local employer, the Harris Corporation, expand its operations. The project is expected to create 180 jobs and generate $100 million in private investment, according to city estimates.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov):
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the Federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.