Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $3 million in funding through programs from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for infrastructure and workforce training in small and rural Florida communities, including several affected by Hurricane Michael. These funds are being awarded primarily through the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant, which is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and DEO.

“Infrastructure development and maintenance is critical to rebuilding and growing more resilient communities,” said Governor DeSantis. “Every dollar counts, so we will continue to utilize all available resources to help communities in the Florida Panhandle impacted by Hurricane Michael recover.”

The projects awarded through the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program include the following:

  • City of Blountstown – ($700,000) for the replacement of water lines, installation of new sewer lines and construction of new storm water facilities.
  • City of DeFuniak Springs – ($700,000) for the replacement of sewer lines, installation of manholes and replacing the chlorine analyzer of the water treatment plant.
  • City of Lawtey – ($600,000) to improve the existing water distribution and related fire protection system within 10 service areas.
  • City of Port St. Joe – ($511,500) for the replacement of sewer lines and repaving of streets.

Additionally, the Jackson County School Board, in partnership with CareerSource Chipola and the Tri-County Community Action Agency, is receiving $500,000 to create a Building Construction Technology program. This program will help generate skilled labor in the construction industry to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts. Funds for the Building Construction Technology program are being made available by DEO through the Community Services Block Grant program and CareerSource Florida through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, our team is committed to finding every resource available to help small and rural communities in our state succeed, especially those impacted by hurricanes,” said Executive Director of DEO Ken Lawson. “This innovative partnership in Jackson County will give Floridians in the area an opportunity to learn a new skill and to help rebuild their beloved community. We look forward to helping other rural communities identify partnerships like this to help them recover.”

“The Building Construction Technology program is a great example of state and local partners coming together to address a critical workforce need in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “Our state board stands with Governor DeSantis and DEO in their commitment to supporting Florida’s rural communities and recovery efforts in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael.”

For more information on these programs, visit FloridaJobs.org.



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