Florida Gets $15 Million Grant to Help Shuttle Workers
NASA administrator Charles Bolden and deputy administrator Lori Garver testify at their confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 8, 2009.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

WASHINGTON — Florida's Brevard County has been awarded a $15 million federal grant to assist 3,200 area workers who stand to lose their jobs when NASA retires its space shuttle fleet later this year.

The grant was announced by U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis during a June 2 visit to NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

Deputy NASA Administrator Lori Garver and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.) joined Solis during the event, which took place at the KSC visitor's center. A Labor Department press release said the grant money is intended for workers from major aerospace contractors working at KSC in Brevard County, Fla., including space shuttle operator United Space Alliance of Houston, ASRC Aerospace Corp. and Boeing.

"During nearly three decades of continuous space shuttle flights, these dedicated and talented workers have helped move our nation — and the world as a whole — forward in a broad range of disciplines," Solis said in the news release. "Today, these hard-working Americans need and deserve our support, and I am pleased that this grant will allow them to upgrade their skills further and gain access to work opportunities in high demand industries."

The grant is being awarded to the Brevard Workforce Development Board Inc., which also will serve as the program operator, according to the news release. Funds will help individuals ranging from entry-level workers to highly skilled professionals with services including career guidance assistance, job search skills training, r?sum? review, skills assessment and labor market information, and will provide additional types of training and continuing education opportunities, according to the release.