Governor Rick Scott announced five awards for nearly $9 million in funding from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, established by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature in 2017, provides $85 million for improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training in Florida. 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 more than $151 million in funding awarded to 50 communities across the state, including more than $42 million to 16 rural communities.
Through Governor Scott’s focus on job creation and economic development programs like the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, since December 2010, every Florida county has experienced a decrease in unemployment. Under Governor Scott’s leadership, Florida businesses have created nearly 1.7 million private-sector jobs since December 2010 and Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen to just 3.3 percent, the lowest level in 12 years.
Governor Scott said, “With our focus on local communities through programs like the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, every single county in Florida has experienced a drop in its unemployment rate over the past eight years. This means that more families across our great state are able to live their dreams. I’m proud of our work to support Florida families and I will never stop fighting to make sure that Florida is the best place in the nation to get a great job and raise a family.”
The five awarded projects include:
- Lake County Board of County Commissioners ($2,500,000) to widen and extend Round Lake Road in the Wolf Branch Innovation District, opening over 1,300 acres to attract businesses in a number of targeted industries including a mix of office, warehouse, advanced manufacturing, technology, and Research and Development companies.
- LaunchCode Foundation ($496,193) to provide intensive introductory coding and programming training to aspiring technologists through LaunchCode’s Tampa Tech Talent Training Initiative at Brewster Technical College. Upon completion, students will have the skills and credentials necessary to be entry-level application and software developers.
- City of Fort Pierce ($1,917,841) to provide sewer connectivity to 37 industrial parcels located in the City of Fort Pierce, to attract new businesses and provide opportunities for the expansion of economic development.
- Palm Beach State College ($2,060,919) to create the Center of Excellence in Engineering Technology, providing a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to engage, recruit, train and graduate engineering students, addressing the area’s unmet need for highly trained, middle-skill engineering workers in targeted industries at both the Belle Glade and Palm Beach Gardens campuses.
- Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners ($1,700,000) to expand the curriculum of Charlotte Technical College to include an Aviation and Powerplant Mechanics Certification Course, preparing students to enter jobs in the aerospace industry.
These proposals were reviewed by DEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc. and chosen by Governor Scott based on their strong return on investment to the state and to meet the demand for a robust workforce or infrastructure needs. Return on investment was calculated to determine the best projects for the state and economic development in the regions.
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of DEO, said, “The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is bringing much needed investments in infrastructure and workforce development to regions across the state. We are proud to help these Florida communities attract businesses and support their workforce.”
Mike Grissom, Interim President & CEO of Enterprise Florida said, “Enterprise Florida is proud to partner with DEO to continue to grow Florida’s economy by investing in our state’s infrastructure and workforce. These projects will support Florida’s business community and create new jobs for Florida families.
Here’s what this round of grantees are saying:
Brandon Matulka, Executive Director of the Lake County Agency for Economic Prosperity said, “Lake County is excited for the opportunity that the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund award provides, as we continue our partnership with the City of Mount Dora to expand job growth and economic development in the Wolf Branch Innovation District. This long-term project is a collaborative partnership and we are proud to be recognized and chosen for this award by Governor Scott and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.”
Jeff Mazur, Executive Director of The LaunchCode Foundation said, “LaunchCode thanks Gov. Scott for investing through the Job Growth Grant Fund in innovative, accessible job training that will provide a pathway for dozens of Floridians to access high-wage, high-growth careers in software development. This award opens technology job opportunities to a new universe of job seekers and helps employers in the Tampa Bay region meet their large and growing tech talent needs. We applaud the governor’s willingness to advance bold new solutions for workforce and economic growth.”
Linda Hudson, Mayor of the City of Fort Pierce said, “I am very grateful to the Governor and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for recognizing the environmental and economic value in helping to fund the extension of wastewater services in the DiGorgio Industrial Corridor in Fort Pierce. This grant will result in retaining existing jobs and attracting future companies to the Corridor. This project will eliminate aging septic systems, thereby protecting our waterways, notably the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. The City of Fort Pierce and the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority share the important priority of protecting the environment while promoting economic growth. We thank the Governor for this excellent New Year’s news, and we appreciate the St. Lucie Economic Development Council for its support and assistance.”
Ava Parker, President of Palm Beach State College said, “Palm Beach State College is honored and excited to be one of the 2018-2019 Florida Job Growth Grant recipients. The funding will allow us to realize our vision of working collaboratively with aviation/aerospace, clean tech, homeland/defense and manufacturing industry partners to build a Center for Excellence in Engineering Technology where students can earn College Credit Certificates and industry credentials to meet the growing need for trained, middle-skilled engineering talent in Palm Beach County. The Center will train more than 500 workers each year in Industrial Technician (Mechatronics), Lean Manufacturing and Automation College Credit Certificates that articulate to the Engineering Technology Associate in Science degree.”
Ken Doherty, chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners said, “The A&P Certification Course offered through Charlotte Technical College will qualify graduates to take written, oral and practical exams for an FAA mechanic license with airframe and powerplant ratings. Graduates of the program will drive high-paying, high-skilled jobs to the county, fueling economic growth and opportunities in skilled manufacturing and maintenance.”
For more information about the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/JobGrowth