Panama City, FL – The need for skilled construction workers continues to slow the progress of recovery across the hurricane affected counties and their neighbors. Triumph Gulf Coast voted to provide funding to allow for up to 220 new construction workers per year to be trained in high-demand skills at the region’s technical schools for up to three years as the demand continues. The Triumph board voted to commit up to $1.4 million in funding for skilled labor certifications and recruitment of students to fill the work needs of the area in 2020. If the program is successful in providing the needed workforce, it will be continued with additional funding through 2022.
In addition, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to fund four projects across the region totaling over $7.8M to create new high wage job opportunities, expand workforce training opportunities and market the region’s workforce globally. To-date the Triumph Board has voted to proceed with 29 projects totaling over $240M.
The Triumph Board vote to negotiate a term sheet with Santa Rosa County for a $3,484,728 infrastructure grant to win a pharmaceutical and medical device distribution company’s expansion at the county’s I-10 Industrial Park. Santa Rosa County is one of the 10 fastest growing counties in Florida and within the top 5% of the fastest growing counties in the US.
Project Lionheart is expected create 90 new jobs paying at least $52,995, 150% of the county’s average annual wage and invest $6M including the construction of a new 100,000 sq ft warehouse if infrastructure improvements are made at the site.
The Gulf Franklin Campus (GFC) of Gulf Coast State College, located in Port St Joe, requested a $2,200,358 Triumph grant to increase the number of students who can be served in the nursing programs offered at the campus. The Triumph Board agreed to move the request forward and voted to enter into term sheet negations for an additional 289 completers over a six-years.
The program’s expansion would be accomplished by the creation of a nursing simulation center using the newest and most effective simulation equipment, technology, and trained faculty.
The creation of the Nursing Simulation Center at the GFC would enable the nursing students to perform clinical training on-site at the GFC resulting in increases enrollment, completion, and job placement in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Practical Nursing (PN) and LPN to ADN Bridge (Registered Nurse) programs. Historically, the barrier to expanding the nursing programs at the GFC has been a shortage of clinical sites.
The Triumph Board vote to start term sheet negotiations a grant proposed by Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW) for $440,000 to implement a research and marketing project targeted at diversification, enhancement, and recovery of the Triumph disproportionately affected counties. This requested amount represents 48.4 percent of total project costs of $910,000.
The project proposes to focus on three areas, return on investment (ROI) analysis for career and technical education (CTE) programs, supply and demand analysis for industry certifications, and marketing and promotion of regional workforce and training programs.
One of the most important issues to business executives as they consider locations to expand operations is current workforce availability and the future talent pipeline. Having competitive labor market supply data is key when educating companies on the region’s workforce pipeline. The information will enhance FGNW and the region’s business development efforts by providing more detailed data points which will be shared with business executives and site location consultants and at industry trade shows.
The Labor data analysis will also provide information for the region to better align resources and support targeted industry clusters with the workforce needed to remain competitive. The data can also be used by educator, parents and students to make informed decisions about career opportunities
The Triumph Board approved a grant award agreement for a joint project from the Walton Economic Development Alliance (Walton EDA), Walton County and the City of DeFuniak Springs for $1,742,407 to extend water and sewer service along the west side of US 331. The extension would run from 1-10 south for approximately 4 miles to just north of Eglin Range Road. The proposed project is located in a state designated RAO.
The EDA, in conjunction with the County, is currently negotiating for parcels of land along the corridor that would be suitable for business, industrial, and commercial development and has committed to creation and maintenance of at least 100 new to Florida private sector jobs at the new development. The jobs will be Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund eligible, paying an average wage of at least 115% of the county wage. The EDA has a commitment from a defense contractor for the creation of at least 35 new jobs at the new site.
The Triumph Gulf Coast 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 Lewis Bear, Jr., Allan Bense, Dr. Pam Dana, Chair Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, and Stephen Riggs, IV and Matt Terry. All meetings of the Board are public.