An array of state colleges, technical colleges and workforce boards in Southwest Florida will receive $7.7 million to expand programs providing career training and education in specific fields, such as nursing, trucking and welding, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday.
The money will help the economy of the region — which was battered by Hurricane Ian on Sept. 28, leading to 114 deaths and massive destruction of homes and businesses — get back on its feet, DeSantis said.
“This is an area that is primed for a great economic recovery coming out of this; I’ve got no doubt about that,” DeSantis told reporters at Matlacha, a small community between Pine Island and Cape Coral.
“Something like this does impact the economy and so we want to … make sure we have everything in place so we can see a boom in the future, and one of the things that means is making sure we have people with the right training to be able to fill key positions in our workforce and in our economy.”
The funding breaks down as follows:
— $2.9 million to State College of Florida to expand commercial driver’s license and logistics programs.
— $2 million for Florida Southwestern State to expand information technology training.
— $1 million to CareerSource Suncoast, CareerSource Heartland, and CareerSource Southwest Florida to provide training and support for career credentialing programs.
— $973,000 for Fort Myers Technical College to expand diesel maintenance and machine manufacturing programs.
— $618,000 to South Florida State College to expand commercial driver’s license and welding programs.
— $200,000 to Cape Coral Technical College to expand nursing programs.
About 3,200 more students could be trained with the new funding.
DeSantis also announced that $1 million from the Florida Disaster Fund, the state’s private charitable organization providing relief to victims of Hurricane Ian, will be given to local charities supporting National Guard members and emergency management personnel who had homes destroyed or damaged by the storm.
The money will go toward basic living expenses for people in those roles displaced by Ian, DeSantis said.