At a press conference this morning at the Kennedy Space Center Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is expected to announce a new effort to deal with shuttle workforce transition, Florida Today reports. No other details about the 9 am EDT announcement have been released, although it’s thought the plan is not related to the $40 million in workforce transition and economic development support President Obama pledged in his April 15 speech there. Also attending the event are NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), whose district includes KSC.
Update 1 pm: According to the official US Department of Labor press release, the department will provide $15 million to The Brevard Workforce Development Board Inc., who will use the funding to provide “career guidance assistance, job search skills training, resume review, skills assessment and labor market information” as well as “additional types of training and continuing education opportunities.” The funding is separate from the $40 million that President Obama said in his April speech at KSC would be provided to the region to deal with the layoffs.
Rpe. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), who was at the press conference announcing the grant, praised the award in a press release, adding that ” I will continue working to minimize the human spaceflight gap and attract new businesses to the Space Coast in order to strengthen and diversify our economy.” (That quote also appeared in the Labor Dept. release.)
However, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who serves the neighboring district just south of KSC, had a mixed reaction. “While I hope this announcement will help some displaced workers, a series of ill-advised decisions by this Administration make the workforce needs all the more dire,” he said in a statement, citing among those decisions “a failure to extend the life the space shuttle, a decision to terminate the Constellation program without a real plan for future human space exploration and the Administration’s decision to pay the Russians over $1 Billion to launch our Astronauts and cargo to the Space Station.”