MATLACHA, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $7.7 million through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant program and the Job Growth Grant Fund (JGGF) to support a large-scale rapid credentialing effort between three state colleges, two technical colleges, and Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs). Governor DeSantis also announced $1 million through the Florida Disaster Fund to organizations to support emergency management personnel, national guardsmen, and community members in the recovery process. Organizations awarded today include the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association, the Florida National Guard Foundation, and three community foundations. The Florida Disaster Fund has raised more than $55 million to support local recovery efforts.
“Today’s awards will help residents rebuild, help emergency management personnel and national guardsmen begin their recovery, and provide new employment opportunities for residents,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership, Florida will continue to see dynamic investments that create solutions and break down silos to better support communities,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle. “Today’s awards will go a long way for Southwest Florida communities that are still working to get back on their feet following Hurricane Ian, and I look forward to the opportunities these programs will create for Floridians.”
“Governor DeSantis has led an unprecedented effort to expedite recovery in the areas of our state affected by Hurricane Ian,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “The Governor’s investment will provide additional resources to connect Floridians with rewarding new careers, and we applaud the selfless service of our colleagues at CareerSource Suncoast, CareerSource Heartland, and CareerSource Southwest Florida as well as our education partners who are helping make their communities whole again.”
“Hurricane Ian caused unimaginable loss to families across Southwest Florida,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Some will have to completely start over and others will have to go to significant lengths to mitigate the financial impact. Due to the unwavering support and leadership of Governor DeSantis, this funding will allow our educational institutions to lighten the burden and transform lives through workforce education.”
Following Hurricane Ian, several high-skill and high-wage occupations like trucking and logistics, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and diesel maintenance will be needed in the region. Funding awarded today will help students graduate with Commercial Driving Licenses and provide opportunities for short-term, high-impact training in manufacturing and technology. This initiative also focuses on the development of rapid credentialing programs in welding, logistics, and aviation maintenance throughout the impacted counties in Southwest Florida.
Funding highlights include:
$7.7 million through WIOA and the JGGF to administer funding for rapid credentialing programs.
- State College of Florida ($2,940,000) – for the commercial driver license credentialing program.
- Florida Southwestern College (1,980,000) – for information technology credentialing programs.
- South Florida State College ($618,842) – for commercial driver license, welding, and tractor programs.
- Fort Myers Technical College ($973,000) – for diesel maintenance mechanic and Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) programs.
- Cape Coral Technical College ($200,000) – for practical nursing credentialing programs.
- $482,000 through the Governor’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to support credentialing program equipment needs across the five awarded educational institutions.
- $1 million to CareerSource Suncoast, CareerSource Heartland, and CareerSource Southwest Florida to provide training and support for rapid credentialing programs.
The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.
Organizations awarded funds from the Florida Disaster Fund today are:
- $500,000 to the Florida National Guard Foundation.
- $125,000 to the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association which represents emergency management professionals across the state.
- $125,000 to the Collier County Community Foundation.
- $125,000 to the Charlotte County Community Foundation.
- $125,000 to Collaboratory, a community foundation helping communities across Southwest Florida.
Funds awarded to the community foundations will be utilized for local efforts to repair and rebuild homes in Southwest Florida.