In his last hours in Tallahassee, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott announced six awards for more than $18 million from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.
“The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, established by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature last year, provides $85 million for improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training in Florida,” Scott’s office noted on Monday. “Since July, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has received more than 100 proposals requesting more than $620 million in funding. Today’s announcement reflects a total of $170 million in funding awarded to 56 communities across the state. In total, through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, nearly $56 million has been awarded to 22 rural communities.”
Scott looked back at the stunning job growth that took place during his eight years in Tallahassee as more than 1.65 million jobs–a far cry from the 700,000 he promised on the campaign trail in 2010–were added to the Sunshine State.
“For the past eight years, we have fought for every family in all of Florida’s 67 counties to have the opportunity to live their dreams in our state. I’m proud that every part of our state has experienced a drop in its unemployment rate as nearly 1.7 million private-sector jobs have been created since December 2010. With these additional awards through the Job Growth Grant Fund, we are making targeted investments that will create even more jobs,” Scott said.
The six awarded projects include:
Town of Callahan ($5,000,000) to provide water and wastewater from the Town of Callahan to the Crawford Diamond industrial site, a 1,841 acre certified mega-site entitled for 10.5 million square feet of heavy industrial use.
City of Lakeland ($4,692,176) to develop two hangar facilities at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, expanding cargo operations and MRO operations, further diversifying the economic landscape of the region.
State College of Florida ($3,611,568) to create the State College of Florida Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, a multi-targeted technology training program developed in partnership with the State College of Florida, local employers and the Sarasota and Bradenton Economic Development Corporations, meeting workforce demand for regional businesses and industries.
Bradford Board of County Commissioners ($2,300,000) to build an access road through the Keystone Heights Airport, opening over 1,300 acres for industrial, commercial or manufacturing business development use; and to enhance Broadband capabilities through the installment of fiber optic facilities, improving high-speed internet and telecommunications connectivity, a major recruitment tool for the airport.
Town of Greenville ($1,705,000) to repurpose a building into a manufacturing facility and to construct a publicly-owned building to be leased as the only grocery store in town, creating local access to food that is currently unavailable.
City of Avon Park ($971,500) to extend industrial water and sewer connectivity in Highlands County, providing opportunities for business expansion and relocation in northern Highlands County.
Scott’s office noted DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) reviewed the projects with Scott selecting them “based on their strong return on investment to the state and to meet the demand for a robust workforce or infrastructure needs” while “return on investment was calculated to determine the best projects for the state and economic development in the regions.”
Cissy Proctor, the executive Director of DEO, offered her take on Monday.
“We have worked with local governments, community colleges, chambers of commerce and technical institutes to review hundreds of Florida Job Growth Grant Fund proposals to enhance infrastructure and workforce training. Today’s announcement reflects a total of $170 million in funding awarded to more than 50 communities across our great state. It has been a pleasure to work with Governor Scott and our partners at Enterprise Florida to evaluate and recommend proposals that will provide countless opportunities for Florida families,” she said.
Mike Grissom, the interim President & CEO of Enterprise Florida also weighed in on the funds.
“The Job Growth Grant Fund provides Florida communities with resources to grow our state’s workforce and infrastructure, creating more opportunity for Florida families. We are proud of Governor Scott’s commitment to creating jobs and supporting community development projects like these throughout the state,” he said.