Florida Gov. Scott awards state’s first job growth grant for advanced manufacturing training

The grant will allow the purchase of new advanced manufacturing equipment to create an industry-aligned workforce for the Florida Suncoast region.

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Florida Governor Rick Scott cuts the ribbon at Manatee County College in Bradenton to celebrate the school's expanded Advanced Manufacturing Program. Photo - Fla. Dept. of Economic Opportunity via Facebook.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott awarded Manatee Technical College in Bradenton with a $201,500 grant which allows the school to expand its program for Advanced Manufacturing and Production Technology.

The grant was the first to be awarded from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund giving the school the funding to purchase new equipment: including five 3D printers, a CNC router and laser engravers.

“This program was designed to support economic development projects that enhance workforce training programs, such as Manatee Technical College’s manufacturing program, so Florida can continue to compete in this global economy. Ensuring a well-trained workforce is vital to bringing new job opportunities to families in our state,” Scott said during his press conference held January 10 at MTC.

The advanced technology will help MTC train its students so they can earn an industry-recognized certification from the Manufacturing Standards Skills Council upon successful completion of the 600-hour program and final exam. Obtaining the MSSC Certified Production Technician certification results in a 95 percent job placement rate, according to MTC.

“Students will learn the tools, materials, and processes of automation technology and its application in production environments, including manufacturing, engineering and robotics,” the School Board of Manatee County wrote in its action item from last December.

MTC’s grant proposal outlined a bright future for advanced manufacturing within the region. The school cited the industry’s recent growth and projected that 220 jobs will be created by the program over the next eight years. They expect an economic impact of more than $2 million each year as students move through the workforce pipeline into new jobs.

The Florida DEO said in a Facebook post that the grant will prepare students for “high-skill, high-wage jobs.”

“Manufacturing skills are needed throughout our state, but specifically in Manatee County where there are hundreds of manufacturers. Manatee Technical College has a successful existing program that will be enhanced by these funds,” DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said.

MTC said that the expanded program is aligned with local industry and employers such as custom fiberglass tooling manufacturer Marine Concepts/Design Concepts and Feld Entertainment, which produces the touring shows Disney on Ice and Monster Jam.

According to MTC, program students who complete 70 percent of their coursework can opt for cooperative education credit and start their careers while finishing their education.

To learn more about the MTC Advanced Manufacturing Program, click here.

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