EDC Director sheds light on economic growth

BREVARD COUNTY — In the expanding Brevard economy, local businesses are at the heart of economic development and growth.

Florida’s Space Coast Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a partnership between Brevard’s businesses and the Brevard County Commission, which, according to EDC officials, “is dedicated to attracting new business and investment, and expanding existing industry throughout the Space Coast.”

Recently, Brian Baluta was appointed as the new Director, Communications & Partner Relations of the EDC. Transferring from the sunny, but landlocked city of Las Vegas, Mr. Baluta now calls Brevard home.

“My wife and I are originally from the East Coast, and actually, both my folks and her mother, are here in Brevard,” Mr. Baluta said. “We’ve been coming for a decade and love it here, and decided to make the move.”

Prior to his new position, Mr. Baluta worked under former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Mr. Baluta said he worked closely with Tesla and other large companies that brought its business to Nevada.

“It’s great to see everything that’s happening here,” Mr. Baluta said. “In just the short period of time I’ve been on board with EDC, we’ve seen a lot of great announcements and job creations. It’s special what’s happening here.”

One area that has shown an increase in growth is manufacturing in Brevard. In the past three years alone, a quarter of the jobs created are in manufacturing, according to Mr. Baluta.

Manufacturing companies range not just from aerospace but medical devices and audio equipment to home building supplies and boats. Mr. Baluta added that these jobs run the full spectrum of high paying engineering jobs to entry-level jobs that offer on the job training.

The EDC offers a 10-week Certified Production Technician program, in partnership with Eastern Florida State College. Additionally, the course can be taken online, benefiting stay-at-home parents or individuals working full time.

Scholarships are available through the EDC, state of Florida and Eastern Florida State College.

Mr. Baluta said that the idea for the course was developed by working with the business community, which identified a need for more manufacturing jobs.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about manufacturing jobs that go back to decades ago where it was hard, manual labor,” Mr. Baluta said. “Now, it’s a lot more technical. There’s soldering involved and they need trained individuals. The wages that manufacturing pays are typically 22% higher than the national average. In Brevard County, they’re even higher than that.”

According to Mr. Baluta, Florida was recently ranked No. 4 in the business climate index by the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan group that looks at taxation policy.

“It was by far the largest state in the top 10,” Mr. Baluta said. “It bodes really well for Florida and the future of the Space Coast in terms of being a business-friendly environment that rewards innovation, creates jobs and creates an engaged and dynamic business community.”

For more information, visit manufacturinginbrevard.org.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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