FloridaCommerce Press Releases

Governor Ron DeSantis Visits Nassau County and Announces More Than $5 Million for Workforce Education in Rural Communities

Dec 16, 2021

YULEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced two Florida Job Growth Grant Fund awards for workforce education programs in rural communities. The Governor awarded more than $3.1 million to Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) to establish the Nassau County Transportation Education Institute, a commercial driving facility that will expand the workforce training available at FSCJ’s Nassau Center. The Governor also announced a $2 million award to Big Bend Technical College in Perry to construct a new training lab and lecture facility for the health sciences program at the College’s campus.

“I am proud to make these awards to Florida State College at Jacksonville and to the Big Bend Technical College,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “These awards will advance Florida’s skilled workforce by providing Floridians with state-of-the-art learning opportunities that will prepare and equip future workers while supporting continued growth in their communities.” 

This award will allow FSCJ to purchase new training trucks and construct two commercial vehicle driving pads for the Transportation Education Institute. Through this program, students can obtain Commercial Driver’s License Class B and Class C credentials. In turn, individuals will be equipped to enter the workforce in the high-wage transportation, logistics, and supply chain industry in Northeast Florida. The program will be able to provide required driving classes and endorsements for an estimated 1,240 individuals to obtain high-demand jobs in the transportation industry.

At Big Bend Technical College, awarded funds will help expand the College’s existing health science programs and purchase state-of-the-art programmable manikins, virtual reality equipment, and software to replicate real-world scenarios for advanced clinical learning in Practical Nursing, Patient Care Technician, Nursing Assistant, and Phlebotomy programs. Qualified health care workers are important to the well-being of all communities, and the access to high-level technology is imperative in rural communities. The new training lab will provide space for trial, error, and problem-solving. In addition, funding will allow more than 100 students to learn vital workforce skills that will better equip students with real-life experience using state-of-the-art technology.

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, these awards will prioritize workforce development projects that provide Floridians with the skills needed to thrive in the health and transportation industries,” said Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “Floridians will have the opportunity to earn the necessary skills to succeed in two of Florida’s fastest growing industries.”

“Commercial drivers are a critical component of our supply chain as these men and women help ensure the efficient movement of goods within each of our communities,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “Through these awards, Governor DeSantis is providing more opportunities for this crucial industry as the need for additional skilled drivers has been very clear, especially this past year.”

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 Enterprise Florida Inc., and chosen by the Governor to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.

In 2021-2022, $74 million in funds 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 accepting proposals until all funding has been awarded. For more information, click here.


About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit WWW.FLORIDAJOBS.ORG.


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