Florida Tech, Kennedy Space Center Sign Space Act Agreement

Florida Institute of Technology and the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) have signed a Space Act Agreement that paves the way for creation of a computational model of the KSC workforce climate. The model, to be designed and implemented by a combination of Industrial/Organizational psychology faculty at Florida Tech and organizational development staff at KSC, will help the Center as it prepares for transition in its mission during the next two decades.

From left, Mary Beth Kenkel, Psychology and Liberal Arts dean; Phillip Meade, KSC Organization Development manager; Anthony J. Catanese, Florida Tech president; and Richard Griffith, Industrial/Organizational psychology program chair.

Richard Griffith, associate professor and program chair of I/O psychology at Florida Tech, said the model is similar in application to a flight simulator.

“Just as pilots use flight simulators to test their responses before actually flying a plane, computational models allow managers to make decisions and learn the benefits or consequences of those decisions before making them in real life,” said Griffith. “The kinds of decisions that the managers at KSC will be making will have ramifications two and three decades from now with new missions to the moon and Mars.”

To build the model, faculty and students from Florida Tech will be doing a lot of research into the current workforce climate at KSC. While Griffith and the Florida Tech faculty see tremendous research benefits, including a possible National Science Foundation grant in the future, KSC Organization Development Manager Phillip Meade said there will be immediate benefits for the Center.

“We’re developing this model in such a way that KSC will be able to reap the near term benefits of its use while continuing to develop additional capabilities. In the first version we are focusing on the fundamental mechanics of how individuals move through our workforce. This will enhance our ability to strategically plan our workforce while reacting quickly to changes in the environment.”

The agreement between KSC and Florida Tech, signed in August, is scheduled to last for one year, but may last longer as conditions warrant.

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