Crawfordville, FL – Today Triumph Gulf Coast presented the first grant check in what is expected to be $1.5 billion worth of job-creating initiatives funded over the next twelve years. The first distribution of Triumph funds will be used by Wakulla School Board to expand career- technical education programming.
Using these funds Wakulla will purchase computer labs for new programs in all of Wakulla’s elementary and middle schools. The training and curriculum will prepare students for advanced training at the high school levels. Improving the quality and value of job training in K-20 education settings is a major focus of the legislation which established Triumph Gulf Coast.
At completion, the Wakulla School Board $3,926,867 grant is expected to result in more than 400 students earning national industry certifications in information technology, HVAC and automotive maintenance in the first five years of the program. Wakulla County School District has a history of excellence in creating meaningful industry-recognized career training for its students. The HVAC and automotive training will create well-paying jobs in business areas with high needs for skilled labor.
Board member Jason Shoaf spoke of the importance of workforce development in all parts of the Triumph region. “My goal is to develop educational infrastructure throughout our entire region. The Wakulla workforce project offers real opportunity for children to earn a certificate or degree while in school without incurring future debt.
“The awarding of our Career and Technical grant from the Gulf Triumph Board is a fantastic win for Wakulla District Schools and all the citizens of our great county. It will pay dividends for years to come as it provides a path to expand on our desire to create an opportunity for all students to be college or career ready as they move from us, to the workforce. We look forward to working with the Gulf Triumph Board and staff as we begin and complete the project.” said Bobby Pearce Wakulla County Superintendent of Schools.
Wakulla School Board Chair Rebecca Cook agreed. “We are delighted and proud to be the recipient of Triumph Gulf Coast dollars for the continued growth of our students and our community, our students will continue to learn, grow and progress towards adulthood with skills that are applicable and beneficial.”
Triumph Gulf Coast is a seven-member, unpaid board established by the Florida Legislature to make awards that will promote and strengthen the economy of the eight Gulf coast counties disproportionately affected by the spill. The Board awards funds resulting from an economic damages settlement between the State of Florida and BP as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Under the terms of Florida’s settlement with BP, the energy company has already deposited $300 million in Triumph Gulf Coast. Further payments of approximately $80 million a year will be made from 2019 through 2033, amounting to a total of $1.5 billion.
Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors is appointed by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and presiding officers of the Legislature. Board Members include Chair Don Gaetz, Alan Bense, Stan Connally, Jr., Dr. Pam Dana, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV and Jason Shoaf.