Today Triumph Gulf Coast committed over $18 million in new grants that will yield at least 5,380 new industry certifications for high paying, in demand jobs requested by employers to meet the region’s needs for a trained workforce in Cyber Security, Logistics and Distribution and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML).
The Board gave final approval to Pensacola State College’s new Commercial Truck Driving training facility in Milton, moved forward Florida State University’s Cybersecurity and New Technologies Program in Panama City as well as partnered with Okaloosa County School District to develop and implement a state-of-the-art AI/ML Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
In collaboration with Triumph, Northwest Florida education institutions continue to submit proposals that break down traditional ways of educating students resulting in exciting new collaborations and outcomes. These projects set the stage for the region to be competitive in tomorrow’s economy while also providing the education opportunities needed for jobs that support today’s growing and resilient communities.
Santa Rosa County
The Triumph Board unanimously approved the final agreement with Pensacola State College for a $3,862,950 grant towards the creation of a new logistics and distribution commercial vehicle driving (CDL) program in Milton that will result in at least 1000 CDL licenses. Grant funds will be used to provide students space for up-to-date instruction, simulation, and on-the-road training, in addition to a recognized official testing site that will better equip students for employment in the industry.
This project was created in response to a growing need expressed by employers to CareerSource Escarosa for trained/licensed commercial vehicle drivers and the desire of many of their clients to receive this training. Further research and examination of the labor market confirmed that there is need for the program.
The PSC training program will enable students to earn Commercial Class “B” Driving and Commercial Vehicle Driving Certifications (Class “A”) making graduates eligible for many jobs requiring a CDL license including “long haul” trucking positions, local delivery truck positions and school bus drivers among others.
The Board moved forward Florida State University Panama City’s (FSU PC) request for $11,500,702 to establish the Advancing Science and Career Education in New Technologies (ASCENT) project which will result in at least 3,280 industry certifications.
Key highlights of the project include integrating cyber security education into numerous academic programs through an Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Hub, supporting local industry cyber and new technology training needs and partnering with the region’s K-12 school districts to recruit, hire, and train teachers to teach technical fields.
Recent discussions with local superintendents have highlighted a common challenge, a need for trained CTE teachers in the 8-county region. Through the ASCENT project, FSU PC will provide ongoing professional development and support for teachers including engaging FSU students and faculty to assist teachers with classes and teacher workshops. ASECNT will also provide support to career academies and summer camps building a robust pipeline of interest in new technologies among the region’s youth.
Okaloosa County School District’s (OCSD) request for a $2,840,000 Triumph grant to create the Artificial Intelligence Learning Institutes advanced toward a final agreement. Recognizing the intensity and pace at which the field of Artificial Intelligence is advancing OCSD plans to work with the University of Florida to develop and implement a model industry certification program in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning for K-12 students that can be replicated across Northwest Florida.
AI/ML impacts every industry in Northwest Florida including drone technology and logistics and distribution. Building a long-term AI/ML talent supply in the region will give students an advantage when entering a career or continuing to postsecondary education in cutting edge fields including Data Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, AI Architects, Big Data Engineers and Business Intelligence Developers.
The Artificial Intelligence Learning Institutes will also provide evidence to companies seeking to expand or relocate to Northwest Florida that the region’s schools can serve as national model for Career Technical Education. This program will result in students earning at least 1,100 industry-recognized credentials in AI and related fields.
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, Stephen Riggs, IV and Matt Terry. All meetings of the Board are public.