Governor plans $20M for technical training

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced plans Thursday for a $20 million grant program that would give money to local training centers that focus on technical skills.

The money will be part of Scott’s upcoming 2015 budget request and will require applicants to submit ideas that improve technology-based learning programs.

“We know the workers of tomorrow are in our classrooms today,” Scott said in a release. “This advanced workforce training creates the environment where our students are getting the skills and training they need to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

Following a tour of an Orange County Public Schools Tech Center in Orlando, Scott said the investment should help students get jobs in the area.

Scott toured the facility’s music- and video-production centers, speaking to students Thursday.

“They are learning interesting things that I didn’t have the opportunity to learn when I was in school,” he said. “Of course, times have changed.”

The Orlando visit was the second in less than a month for Scott that related to technology jobs. Last month, he announced the state’s unemployment numbers at local technology company Viewpost.

After the tour, Scott said the grant program will work closely with local businesses to connect students with area companies.

Andrew Jenkins, the school’s senior director, said the grant program will be a huge addition to schools that receive the grants.

“Any funding you open up allows us to offer it to more students and get equipment and software needed at the school,” Jenkins said. “Technology is the direction all industries are moving toward. Students with the upper hand will able to succeed and retain those jobs.”

“If you can prepare young people and others, they will compete for those jobs that open up in [technology] arenas. It’s exciting.”