Florida Gov. Rick Scott commits $30 million for high-skill, high-wage job training

Florida Gov. Rick Scott pledged $30 million in funding Thursday for a new workforce training initiative geared toward high-skill/high-wage jobs.

Scott jobs announcement
Gov. Scott makes jobs announcement at Greencore USA, Jacksonville. Photo credit: Meredyth Hope Hall

The training will focus on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math – occupations, providing flexible funding for businesses to train current or future employees, and includes scholarships for students who want to pursue a STEM-related occupation, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“Today’s announcement of $30 million for a new STEM workforce training initiative as part of the ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ is great news for Florida families,” Scott said in the statement. “Pursuing a great career often means having the skills needed by employers who are creating jobs – especially in STEM-related fields. With these dollars, we will provide access to training resources for both job seekers and employers, while also providing scholarships to Floridians wishing to pursue STEM and other great careers at Florida’s state colleges and vocational centers.”

State legislators support the initiative, commending Scott for the commitment.

“I applaud Governor Scott for placing a priority on the future workforce needs of our STEM and manufacturing industries,” Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said in the statement. “We know there is great job potential and talent demand in these sectors, and this training opportunity will help businesses cultivate the talent and skills their employees need to stay competitive.”

Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, said, “STEM and manufacturing jobs are precisely the kind of high-skills jobs we want to attract and build in Florida, and Governor Scott is right to recommend this funding. Governor Scott is sending a clear message to businesses that Florida is ready to work with them to keep their workforce competitive and up to speed on the latest skills and technologies.”

The Workforce State Training Program is expected to give Florida a competitive advantage in new business recruitment and worker retention at existing companies.

Here’s what others are saying about the initiative, according to the statement:

Workforce Florida Board Chairman Dwayne Ingram, a partner at Avasant, said, “Our board applauds Governor Scott for his unwavering focus on growing high-skill/high-wage jobs in Florida. Ensuring Floridians have access to the tools needed to land those jobs and advance in their careers is an integral part of his overall plan for building Florida’s future.”

Gulf Power Company Workforce Development Coordinator and Workforce Florida Board Vice Chairman Jennifer Grove said, “Education and training that are tied to our in-demand industries are what’s needed to position Florida – and Floridians – for prosperity now and in the future. We applaud Governor Scott for his leadership and for making this investment a priority.”

Honeywell, Inc., program director and Workforce Florida Board Member Bob Campbell said, “Employers need skilled talent to compete, and Governor Scott’s budget recommendation will further enhance our state’s global competitiveness while benefiting Florida’s families.”

Jacksonville Supervisors Association Business Agent and Workforce Florida Board Member Steve Capehart said, “Governor Scott knows a well-trained workforce is vital to the well-being of Florida’s businesses and communities. His strong support of investments in education and training for Floridians seeking good-paying jobs is right on the mark.”

Small-business owner and Workforce Florida Board Member Kevin Doyle said, “Governor Scott understands the talent needs of business. He has been and continues to be, as demonstrated by his 2014-2015 budget proposal, Florida’s strongest advocate for investing in workforce development and training.”

Jacksonville Academy of Electrical Technology Executive Director and Workforce Florida Board Member Linda Sparks said, “Governor Scott recognizes the importance of investing in workforce development to ensure Florida’s employers have the well-trained workforce needed to expand and flourish in our beautiful state. His is truly making a difference for our families and our communities.”

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 2358 President and Workforce Florida Board Member Rodney Wickham said, “One of the keys to attracting new businesses to Florida is ensuring we have the skilled workforce to get the job done, and Governor Scott is demonstrating his commitment once again by investing in our workers so we can compete not just nationally but globally.”

Workforce Florida President/CEO Chris Hart IV said, “By focusing on attracting in-demand jobs, today and in the future, and placing a high priority on workforce development, Governor Scott further advances Florida’s reputation as the best state in the nation to build a business and raise a family.”

Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott for his commitment to providing Floridians with the tools and resources they need to not just obtain a job, but to establish a career. The funds recommended in the budget for the Workforce State Training Program represent another significant investment aimed at getting our state back to work. With a focus on training in STEM skills, this program will further strengthen our state’s exceptional talent pipeline.”

“Florida’s position as a premier business destination continues to climb, thanks to our ability to compete not only nationally but worldwide,” said Florida secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s lead economic development organization. “While Florida has many of the resources companies need when looking to locate or expand their business, we must also have the ability to offer funding support to truly remain competitive and bring more jobs to the state. Workforce training is a key piece of that funding support. The proposed funding for 2014 will allow us to remain aggressive in our economic development efforts and tout Florida as the best state in the nation for business.”

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