FLA GOV SCOTTTALLAHASSEE, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ — Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced $30 million in funding for a new workforce training initiative focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations and other high-skill/high-wage jobs as part of the 2014-2015 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” The Governor made the announcement at Greencore USA, a manufacturer of convenience foods, in Jacksonville, where he highlighted the company’s plans to boost its Jacksonville workforce significantly over the next several years.

Governor Scott said, “Today’s announcement of $30 million for a new STEM workforce training initiative as part of the ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ is great news for Florida families. Pursuing a great career often means having the skills needed by employers who are creating jobs – especially in STEM-related fields. With these dollars, we will provide access to training resources for both job seekers and employers, while also providing scholarships to Floridians wishing to pursue STEM and other great careers at Florida’s state colleges and vocational centers. This strategic investment will no doubt provide Florida families with even more job opportunities so they can live the American Dream.”

The Workforce State Training Program, administered by Workforce Florida, Inc. will provide flexible funding to businesses seeking to train employees as well as individuals seeking training in STEM and other high-skill/high-wage occupations. The initiative includes scholarships for students seeking training in a STEM-related occupation at a Florida state college or post-secondary vocational center. Many of the credentials necessary for eligible in-demand careers can be obtained in two years or less.

The Workforce State Training Program mirrors similar programs in economic competitor states and provides Florida a competitive advantage in attracting new business as well as retaining workers at existing Florida companies.

Workforce Florida Board Chairman Dwayne Ingram, a partner at Avasant, said, “Our board applauds Governor Scott for his unwavering focus on growing high-skill/high-wage jobs in Florida. Ensuring Floridians have access to the tools needed to land those jobs and advance in their careers is an integral part of his overall plan for building Florida’s future.”

Gulf Power Company Workforce Development Coordinator and Workforce Florida Board Vice Chairman Jennifer Grove said, “Education and training that are tied to our in-demand industries are what’s needed to position Florida – and Floridians – for prosperity now and in the future. We applaud Governor Scott for his leadership and for making this investment a priority.”

Honeywell, Inc., Program Director and Workforce Florida Board Member Bob Campbell said, “Employers need skilled talent to compete, and Governor Scott’s budget recommendation will further enhance our state’s global competitiveness while benefiting Florida’s families.”

Jacksonville Supervisors Association Business Agent and Workforce Florida Board Member Steve Capehart said, “Governor Scott knows a well-trained workforce is vital to the well-being of Florida’s businesses and communities. His strong support of investments in education and training for Floridians seeking good-paying jobs is right on the mark.”

Small business owner and Workforce Florida Board Member Kevin Doyle said, “Governor Scott understands the talent needs of business. He has been and continues to be, as demonstrated by his 2014-2015 budget proposal, Florida’s strongest advocate for investing in workforce development and training.”

Jacksonville Academy of Electrical Technology Executive Director and Workforce Florida Board Member Linda Sparks said, “Governor Scott recognizes the importance of investing in workforce development to ensure Florida’s employers have the well-trained workforce needed to expand and flourish in our beautiful state. His is truly making a difference for our families and our communities.”

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 2358 President and Workforce Florida Board Member Rodney Wickham said, “One of the keys to attracting new businesses to Florida is ensuring we have the skilled workforce to get the job done, and Governor Scott is demonstrating his commitment once again by investing in our workers so we can compete not just nationally but globally.”

Workforce Florida President/CEO Chris Hart IV said, “By focusing on attracting in-demand jobs, today and in the future, and placing a high priority on workforce development, Governor Scott further advances Florida’s reputation as the best state in the nation to build a business and raise a family.”

Jesse Panuccio, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott for his commitment to providing Floridians with the tools and resources they need to not just obtain a job, but to establish a career. The funds recommended in the budget for the Workforce State Training Program represent another significant investment aimed at getting our state back to work. With a focus on training in STEM skills, this program will further strengthen our state’s exceptional talent pipeline.”

“Florida’s position as a premier business destination continues to climb, thanks to our ability to compete not only nationally but worldwide,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s lead economic development organization. ”While Florida has many of the resources companies need when looking to locate or expand their business, we must also have the ability to offer funding support to truly remain competitive and bring more jobs to the state. Workforce training is a key piece of that funding support. The proposed funding for 2014 will allow us to remain aggressive in our economic development efforts and tout Florida as the best state in the nation for business.”