Port St. Joe, FL – Triumph Gulf Coast’s Board met in Hurricane Michael impacted Gulf County and voted to support transformational workforce and education projects in rural Northwest Florida. The meeting in Gulf County was originally scheduled for late October 2018, and was moved to Crestview following the damage wrought by the Hurricane Michael.
The Triumph Board reiterated its support of the four Hurricane Michael impacted counties and heard a presentation from Gulf County Property Appraiser Mitch Burke on the impacts to property value and local revenue due to Hurricane Michael. Triumph Gulf Coast has been working with the Board of County Commissioners in each of the counties federally designated as Hurricane Michael disaster areas (Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla) since immediately after the storm to determine the most appropriate ways to provide assistance. Triumph is following the recommendations of each impacted county to provide support.”
Triumph voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Gulf County School District (GCSD) that will result in industry certifications in subject areas pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The Triumph request of $750,000 represents 53.5 percent of total project cost over a 5-year period. GCSD will provide $652,000 in instructor salaries and benefits as matching funds.
A minimum of 200 students will obtain Small UAS Safety certifications, Agricultural Use of UAS Technology certifications or Visual Line of Sight Operator (VOS) certifications over five years. UAS is a high demand and growing industry sector that is well-matched to the needs of the local economy.
In Franklin County, The Triumph Board voted to approve an education proposal from Franklin County School Board (FCSB) that will result in industry certifications in subject areas including medical fields, welding and computer technology. The Triumph request of $2,327,322.00 represents 70.3 percent of total project cost over a 3.5-year period. FCSB will contribute $984,500.00.
It is expected that 800 CAPE Certifications will be obtained by students in elementary middle and high school over three and half years. A unique curriculum will also be introduced in Franklin schools that focuses on attributes of the regional seafood industry.
The Triumph Board also moved forward a proposal from the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory (FSUCML) in St. Teresa for $7,998,678 from Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. The overarching objective of Apalachicola Bay System Initiative (ABSI) is to provide information and tools that will facilitate the recovery of the Apalachicola Bay ecosystem, which is critical to the economy of Franklin County.
ABSI will partner with Franklin County community members as well as government, academic and non- governmental organization (NGO) stakeholders. Research will be done to gain insight into the extent of deterioration of the reef system and the underlying causes of the observed decline resulting in a plan of action for recovery of the oyster reefs and the health of the Bay.
The ABSI effort proposes to leverage substantial external funding in support of the research and plan implementation. Recovery of oyster reefs will translate into positive economic outcomes for those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Bay.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office proposal to the Triumph Board for $2,217,965.00 of Triumph funding to expand pre- and post-release technical education and certification training programs in partnership with Emerald Coast Technical College (ECTC), a part of the Walton County School District was moved forward.
The funds will be used to pave a driving pad for CDL training and certification, expanded welding certifications and computer technology certification. The program will also allow Sheriff Department employees to take classes and earn certifications in computer technology. Triumph’s participation is just under 50% of the $4,451,565.00 project.
This program is expected to reduce the challenges of those released from jail in successfully re-enter the mainstream economy, gaining employment and decreasing recidivism. The results of this program will be studied by Florida State University.
Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors is appointed by the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and presiding officers of the Legislature. The appointees to the Triumph Board are Allan Bense, Dr. Pam Dana, Chair Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV and Jason Shoaf. All meetings of the board are public.