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Governor Ron DeSantis announced major expansion of Florida’s Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training as well as the creation of new opportunities for apprenticeships in Florida. Governor DeSantis awarded $8.2 million to five state colleges to expand the capacity of CDL training programs by at least 1,200 students per year. Prior to 2019, there were less than 1,000 students a year enrolled in CDL training programs, and with this expansion, state institutions will have the capacity to train more than  3,500 students every year. To further support the Governor’s workforce development initiatives, the Governor also announced nearly $12 million to Florida school districts, colleges, state universities, and private training entities to start or expand registered apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs throughout the state through the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant (PCOG). “In Florida, over the past three years we have made significant investments into workforce education, with an emphasis on trucking and the entire transportation industry,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “With today’s announcements, we have now increased our CDL training capacity at state institutions from less than 1,000 prior to 2019 to more than 3,500. These investments are driving the growth of our rural communities and state as a whole.”

“We already know that a traditional university path is not for every student, and thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, students now have a variety of options to get on the road in a new career,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “With the Governor’s continued support, our state colleges are perfectly positioned to meet industry demand and advance Florida’s economic independence and prosperity.”

“Florida is a critical link in our nation’s supply chain, and the demand is soaring for Commercial Driver’s License holders,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “With the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and our education partners, the CareerSource Florida network is honored to help connect Floridians with the vital training needed for careers in transportation and logistics.”

Through the Job Growth Grant Fund, $6.7 million will be awarded to workforce initiatives. More than $1 million will be awarded to the State College of Florida through the PCOG program, administered by DOE, to expand the college’s existing CDL program. DEO will also award $500,000 in funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to fund tuition costs associated with the programs through local workforce development boards to assist in the training efforts, including State College of Florida. $200,00 of funding will be made available through  to CareerSource Florida.

The additional awards through the PCOG program announced today will support workforce education in high-demand fields. For the current 2022-23 fiscal year, FDOE has awarded funding to 40 proposals and will work to enroll 3,200 apprentices and preapprentices, supporting over 50 businesses over the next year. Programs include Tractor Trailer Driver (Class A and B), Industrial Engineering Technician, Heavy Equipment Driver and Fiber Optic technician.

For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.