Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded Eastern Florida State College $6.6 million in state grants Friday to increase the scope of its programs that are training students for the Space Coast’s high-tech workforce.
The funds were part of $30 million in grants to state colleges and agencies that are working together to provide a talent pipeline of employees to companies in fields such as aerospace, aviation and advanced manufacturing.
“I set a goal to make Florida the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030, and we are doing that by making investments that expand opportunity and meet industry needs,” said DeSantis.
“Currently there are over 91,000 manufacturing and aerospace technology-related jobs on the Space Coast, and this $30 million investment will build more opportunities for Floridians.”
EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey called the grants “a real game changer” because of the impact they’ll make on students and industry, helping fuel stronger economic growth.
“Gov. DeSantis has done a great service with this important initiative. The benefits will be felt for years in creating high-paying jobs and advancing industry innovation. We’re very grateful for his strong leadership in this critical arena,” said Richey.
Here is a look at EFSC’s grants and how they will be used:
- $4 million Job Growth Grant to expand the college’s aviation maintenance program and aerospace technology program, along with upgrading fiber composites, electronics and mechanical labs.
- $1.6 million Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant for more scholarships, instructors and lab improvements to support the Space Coast Machining Apprenticeship Program and the Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program in areas such as mechatronics, computerized machining and fiber composites.
- $1 million Cyber/IT Pathways Grant program to expand existing cybersecurity programs, purchase IT equipment and increase the number of students studying in the field.
Other grant recipients included Daytona State College, Indian River State College and CareerSource boards in Flagler, Volusia, Indian River and St. Lucie counties.
State leaders lauded DeSantis’ plan, which he announced at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.
“Today’s announcement represents an unprecedented investment in workforce education for the region,” said Florida Senior Chancellor of Education Henry Mack.
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“These funds will nearly guarantee a clear, accelerated pathway for all Floridians interested in high-paying advanced manufacturing and aerospace jobs. It also renews Florida’s commitment to training for the future of work, today.”
Said Frank DiBello, President and CEO of SpaceFlorida, “This investment in workforce education for aerospace-related jobs is a great next step as Florida continues to establish itself as the leader in commercial space.”