(1) The Legislature finds that the aerospace industry is critical to the economic future of the state and that the competitiveness of the industry in the state depends upon the development and maintenance of a qualified workforce. The Legislature further finds that the aerospace industry in this state has diverse and complex workforce needs, including, but not limited to, the need for qualified entry-level workers, the need to upgrade the skills of technician-level incumbent workers, and the need to ensure continuing education opportunities for workers with advanced educational degrees. It is the intent of the Legislature to support programs designed to address the workforce development needs of the aerospace industry in this state.
(2) The Workforce Development Board of Enterprise Florida, Inc., or its successor entity, shall coordinate development of a Space Industry Workforce Initiative in partnership with Space Florida, public and private universities, community colleges, and other training providers approved by the board. The purpose of the initiative is to use or revise existing programs and to develop innovative new programs to address the workforce needs of the aerospace industry.
(3) The initiative shall emphasize:
(a) Curricula content and timeframes developed with industry participation and endorsed by the industry;
(b) Programs that certify persons completing training as meeting industry-approved standards or competencies;
(c) Use of distance-learning and computer-based training modules as appropriate and feasible;
(d) Industry solicitation of public and private universities to develop continuing education programs at the master’s and doctoral levels;
(e) Agreements with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to replicate on a national level successful training programs developed through the initiative; and
(f) Leveraging of state and federal workforce funds.
(4) The Workforce Development Board of Enterprise Florida, Inc., or its successor entity, with the assistance of Space Florida, shall convene representatives from the aerospace industry to identify the priority training and education needs of the industry and to appoint a team to design programs to meet the priority needs.
(5) The Workforce Development Board of Enterprise Florida, Inc., or its successor entity, as part of its statutorily prescribed annual report to the Legislature, shall provide recommendations for policies, programs, and funding to enhance the workforce needs of the aerospace industry.