The Miami Herald reports that the jobs incentives deals that Gov. Rick Scott has crafted to lure businesses to the Space Coast have been a mixed bag. On the plus side, Brevard County’s unemployment rate, which peaked after the end of NASA’s space shuttle program, has been reduced from more than 11 percent to 7 percent. Deals with large companies such as Boeing and Embraer promise to eventually add thousands of additional jobs in the area.
On the other hand, a $7 million incentives deal with start-up company Rocket Crafters appears to have augered in. And even positive achievements appear to rely heavily on federal contracts, not necessarily on private sector growth, limiting the ability of the area to diversify its economy away from government spending.
The state of Florida and emerging South American economic power Brazil spent the month of October strengthening their economic ties, with a particular focus on aerospace cooperation. The activities included an exchange of trade missions and the announcement that Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer will expand its operations in Melbourne, bringing 600 jobs to Florida’s hard-hit Space Coast.
The following stories are excerpted from Space Florida’s most recent newsletter.
Florida-Brazil Trade Mission Results in Business Development Leads
In early October, Space Florida President Frank DiBello had the opportunity to conduct a trade mission to Brazil, meeting with 20+ high-tech and aerospace executives that expressed interest in doing business in the United States. The mission was hosted by the Brazil-Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The Florida Space Coast, hard hit by the economic meltdown and the end of the space shuttle program, got a couple of big shots in the arm on Wednesday as officials broke ground on two technology centers.
Gov. Rick Scott was on hand for groundbreaking ceremonies for the new $24 million Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA at Melbourne International Airport. The governor also attended the groundbreaking on $100 million Harris Technology Center in nearby Palm Bay. Both projects represent expansions of existing operations in those locations backed by the financial support of state and local governments.
Melbourne, FL (Space Florida PR — March 21, 2012) – Today Governor Rick Scott announced that Embraer, a Brazil-based aircraft manufacturer focused on commercial, defense, and executive aviation, is expanding its operations at Melbourne International Airport. The company will be adding a new research and development facility – The Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA – and 200 new engineering jobs with average salaries of $70,000, in the near term. At least 40 new jobs are anticipated in 2012.
The announcement was made today at the Melbourne Hilton Rialto. Governor Rick Scott was joined by Senator Mike Haridopolos, Melbourne City Mayor Harry Goode, and executives from Embraer, Enterprise Florida, Space Florida and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. (more…)