Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday morning announced the investment of over $5 million toward workplace training programs in Florida’s rural communities. DeSantis 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.”
The financial award is planned to be used by FSCJ to purchase new training trucks and construct two commercial vehicle driving pads for the Transportation Education Institute. Through the program, participants can obtain Commercial Driver’s License Class B and Class C credentials.
The announcement comes amid a global shortage of truck drivers contributing to the ongoing supply chain slowdown. In November, DeSantis proclaimed that Florida ports are open for business in an attempt to alleviate shipping delays due to bogged down ports on the west coast.
“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. “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.”
DeSantis also announced on Thursday his allocation of $12 million for rural communities impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018, covering the local match portion of mitigation awards to support disaster readiness and support recovery efforts.
“Today, I was grateful for the opportunity to award $12 million across the Panhandle to continue supporting the continuing recovery and community resiliency efforts,” said DeSantis. “We will continue to look for ways to assist our rural communities to rebuild stronger than before and we recognize that a storm of the magnitude of Hurricane Michael requires a long-term commitment.”