Ron DeSantis Announces $6 Million for Workforce Training Center in Tavares

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $6 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund award to the city of Tavares to construct a regional workforce training and innovation center in partnership with Lake Technical College.

While Lake Technical College currently can enroll 16 students in its programs for diesel systems technology, automotive services, and automotive collision, this new center will allow the college to triple its enrollment to 48 students. This will help Florida meet the demand of more than 67,000 new openings in these occupations over the next 8 years. The facility will also serve as a public works complex that will accommodate the full operation of the city of Tavares Public Works Department.

Since 2019, DeSantis has been focused on making Florida the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. Through this year’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund awards, DeSantis has awarded more than $20 million for workforce training initiatives in Florida. While these initiatives are creating jobs in a variety of industries, they are also creating skilled workers that are combating the nation’s supply chain crisis. In the 2020-2021 school year, more than 740 students graduated from commercial driving programs from Florida’s state colleges and technical colleges – an increase of 32 percent compared to the previous year. Overall, nearly 1,300 students have graduated from these commercial driving programs since 2019. Graduates in these fields are quickly finding work, while media reports show that much of the nation is struggling to find reliable transportation workers.

“In Florida, we are stepping up in the midst of the nation’s supply chain woes. Our ports are open and have capacity, we are standing up for businesses, and we are continuing to support the supply chain by training skilled workers across our state,” said DeSantis. “This is a great investment that will allow Lake Technical College to triple the number of students enrolled in programs that support high-paying, and in-demand fields across the transportation industry. We will continue to invest in programs that create opportunities for Floridians and support our growing economy.”

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, providing this award will advance the governor’s goal of being number one in workforce by 2030,” said Sec. Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “Providing Floridians with the opportunity to develop new skills through workforce training centers like this one will enable individuals to have a successful career, which remains a top priority of DEO.”

“I am thankful for Governor DeSantis’ championship of workforce education. Investing in career and technical education programs like Lake Technical College’s automotive training builds the workforce of tomorrow—today,” said state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “As Florida continues to grow, it is vital that we strengthen our capable and highly-skilled workforce to meet the future needs of Floridians everywhere.”

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by DEO and EFI and chosen by the governor to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.

In 2020-21, $74 million in awards have been allocated for projects that focus on rapidly developing a highly-skilled workforce and on infrastructure initiatives that attract businesses, create jobs and promote economic growth. DEO and EFI are currently accepting proposals.

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