The Triumph Gulf Coast board of directors voted on Thursday to move forward five projects totaling $24.9M. These job creation and workforce education projects will create a minimum of 900 new high wage jobs and at least 2,060 Career and Technical Education (CTE) industry certifications including Cyber Security, Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS), Welding, Agri-Science, and Industrial Trades across Northwest Florida.
Triumph Gulf Coast gave final approval to a grant award with the City of Panama City for $20,000,000 for a major infrastructure improvement project at the Panama City Industrial Complex including the Eastern Shipbuilding Group Nelson Street facility. The project supports the continuation of the U.S. Coast Guard contract to construct Offshore Patrol Cutters. The project will create at least 900 new high wage jobs in Bay County.
Gulf District School District’s request for $250,000 in Triumph Gulf Coast grant funds for the expansion of the welding program at Wewahitchka High School (WHS) was unanimously approved to move to term-sheet negations. The grant will expand the existing welding program and retrofit an existing vocational building on WHS’s campus.
Students will gain industry certification in the field of welding a high demand occupation in the region. Hurricane Michael left unfathomable damage in its wake, but in doing so created more demand for skilled labor such as welders.
The Triumph Board also moved to approve a term-sheet with Gulf County School Board for a $125,000.00 grant to expand the agriscience CTE industry certification program at Wewahitchka High School (WHS). The Triumph grant will be used to purchase program equipment.
Agriscience program curriculum teaches a variety of skills enhancing student employability in agriculture-based professions as well as others career fields. Students enrolled in the agriscience program will be able to obtain certification in Agricultural Use of UAS Technology through the unmanned aircraft (drone) industry certification program being established at WHS through a separate Triumph grant.
The Wakulla School Board application to start a UAS program at Wakulla High School was unanimously supported by the Triumph Gulf Coast Board. The $1,780,00 grant request will also provide additional CTE digital tools training for students in grades 3-5.
The UAS CTE program will provide students with industry-recognized credentials in this new and growing industry. Florida is among the top ten states predicted to create jobs and revenue as production and use of drones continues.
Wakulla Schools has recently completed their first school year utilizing their initial Triumph grant including installation of computer labs in the county’s four elementary schools. Over 300 CTE digital tools certificate were awarded to elementary school students across the district in the first year, far exceeding the proposal’s commitment.
The Triumph Board moved to enter agreement negotiation with Northwest Florida State College’s for a $2,763,716.00 grant to support the expansion of the Walton Works Training Center of Excellence at the College’s Chautauqua Center in DeFuniak Springs. The projects creates a training hub in the northern part of Walton County, designated by the State of Florida as a Rural Area of Opportunity. The project will provide access to relevant training opportunities that are responsive to job demands, create a path to higher educational attainment and high wage careers.
The Walton Works Training Center project will prepare students for 20 different occupations and will reach a large number of students in subject areas with projected job growth. The project will establish workforce training programs in Industrial Trades (Electrical, Plumbing, Construction, Welding & Millwright); Cybersecurity; Unmanned Vehicle Systems Operations; Law Enforcement; Fire Science; and Emergency Medical Technician.
The Fire Science and Law Enforcement programs include collaboration with and onsite training at the Walton Sheriff’s facility also in DeFuniak Springs.
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 Louis Bear, Jr., Allan Bense, Dr. Pam Dana, Chair Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV. All meetings of the board are public.