Ron DeSantis: Northwest Florida State College Getting $2.8 Million from Florida Job Growth Grant

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $2.8 million is being awarded to Northwest Florida State College through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to fund a new diesel mechanic technician training program.

Diesel mechanics are in demand both nationally and in Florida. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for diesel service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase by 8 percent over the next 10 years, and in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, current projections show an 18 percent increase in demand for transit technicians over the next five years.

DeSantis made the announcement on Thursday at Northwest Florida State College as part of a weeklong series of events with announcements of awards that invest in infrastructure and elevate rural communities.

“To support job growth in our state, we are focused on not only investing in infrastructure, but also supporting workforce training programs like the great ones here at Northwest Florida State College,” said DeSantis. “Today, I am excited to award $2.8 million to fund a new diesel mechanic training program at Northwest Florida State College – a high-demand field that will move our state forward and provide young people opportunities to do very well for themselves. When you look at Florida compared to the nation, it’s clear that while other states have struggled over the past year and a half, our state continues to do better and better. While we are proud of the progress we have made, we know that there is more to accomplish, and with awards like the ones we are making this week, we are continuing to push that progress forward.”

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund award will support Northwest Florida State College’s existing Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. Training will be offered in partnership with Cummins and will assist individuals in developing skills that are in demand and will result in multiple industry-recognized credentials, including Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification.

“Governor DeSantis providing this award to Northwest Florida State College will help individuals in the Panhandle gain technical skills that will grow the workforce in surrounding rural communities,” said Sec. Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “This award will support the success of Governor DeSantis’ vision of being the nation’s leader in workforce development by 2030.”

“Through the funding announced today, Northwest Florida State College will be able to attract more students and offer educational programs and training opportunities that will continue to develop Florida’s workforce,” said Florida Sec. of Commerce Jamal Sowell, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc (EFI). “This award is a testament to Governor DeSantis’ continued dedication to elevating Florida’s rural communities while investing in educational and workforce opportunities that will strengthen our state as a whole.”

“I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his forward thinking and leadership in education,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Through industry and community partnerships, our colleges will strengthen our state, our economy, and uplift students through career, technical and adult education programs, like those offered by Northwest Florida State College.”

“We know that business and industry in Northwest Florida is counting on us to provide the education to support the jobs of the 21st Century,” said Northwest Florida State College President Devin Stephenson. “Governor DeSantis, with your steadfast support, this new transit technician program extends our commitment to further advance the state’s workforce goals with an immediate pathway to employment. Governor, we are honored to have you here, and we thank you for all that you have done to make great things happen in Northwest Florida.”

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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