AVON PARK, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $9 million to support workforce education programs in high-demand fields across the state, with a focus on serving professions and Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian. Institutions receiving funding are South Florida State College (DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties), St. Petersburg College (Pinellas County), and Daytona State College (Flagler and Volusia counties) through the Critical Workforce Needs Grant Program. These funds will support programs that help students graduate and enter careers in emergency management, law enforcement, health care and education – all of these fields are in-demand in Florida and are especially important occupations in communities after a disaster like Hurricane Ian. Through these awards, Florida is helping communities impacted by the storm get back on their feet and supporting their recovery. Over the next three years, 2,000 students are expected to graduate from these programs.


“It was great to award $9 million for workforce education programs that will help Floridians who were impacted by Hurricane Ian,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As we rebuild and recover from this storm, training highly skilled individuals to work in health care, law enforcement, emergency management and education will help communities now and prepare them for the future.”


“With today’s announcement, Florida will continue to effectively support these critical workforce pipelines to fill critical positions,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “As we continue to recover from Hurricane Ian, Governor Ron DeSantis is helping to ensure our workforce education meets the modern demands of Florida’s growing economy.”


The Critical Workforce Needs funding will help each college establish its own regional partnership with its area school districts to support the development of career academies in healthcare, law enforcement, education and emergency management.

Funding will be awarded as follows:

  • South Florida State College – $2.8 million to support workforce education programs.
  • Daytona State College – $2.8 million to support workforce education programs.
  • St. Petersburg College – $3.4 million to support workforce education programs and oversee this initiative.


In 2019, Governor DeSantis set a goal to make Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. During the 2020-2021 school year, Florida had the highest number of students enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in state history with more than 772,000 K-12 CTE and over 380,000 postsecondary CTE students.




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