Rick Scott Proposes $30 Million to Train Workforce in 'Stem' Fields

By: Jim Turner News Service of Florida | Posted: January 24, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott

Rick Scott

Workforce training in science and technology fields would get $30 million from Gov. Rick Scott in the latest snapshot of his upcoming legislative budget request.

Scott, who is to roll out his entire 2014-15 "It's Your Money Tax Cut" budget proposal next week, was at convenience food maker Greencore USA, a growing company in Jacksonville, on Thursday to tout the new training initiative, focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations.

"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," Scott said in a release.

The money would be in addition to the $12 million expected to again be sought for the Quick Response Training Program that helps with training for new or expanding businesses, according to the governor's office.

In November, the Department of Economic Opportunity included $12 million for the Quick Response Training Program as part of its budget request.

During the budget year that ended June 30, 2013, the Quick Response Training Program handed out $8.5 million in grants that were intended to be used to train 6,522 employees, including 4,518 anticipated to be new jobs, according to Workforce Florida.

Scott will outline his entire budget proposal Wednesday, during the annual Associated Press meeting at the Capitol in advance of the legislative session.

Already, Scott has laid out almost $12 billion from the pending spending plan, including $493.2 million in funding for new endeavors. His proposed budget should be around $70 billion. He has also pitched approximately $461 million in cuts to taxes and fees.

Scott has challenged lawmakers to approve $500 million in tax and fee cuts.

It will be up to state legislators to craft the final budget package, and a number of counterproposals have already been made to some of Scott's water-related requests.

On Wednesday, Scott highlighted $130 million to improve the quality and flow of water in the Florida Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. On Tuesday, Scott promoted his intention to seek $55 million to protect and maintain the state's natural springs, up from $10 million in the current budget.

The Senate is looking at a $220 million package intended to improve water quality in South Florida waterways, while a $380 million springs protection package is being drafted. The House is considering a statewide water package that is to include aspects of both Senate plans.

Other budget highlights that Scott has announced include: $200 million to increase the state's Department of Transportation budget to $8.8 billion; a $35 million increase for Visit Florida to $100 million; a nearly $40 million increase to the Department of Children and Families, bringing that agency's budget to $2.855 billion; and $3.2 million to train law enforcement officers.

A big factor in any of the spending proposals will be the economy.

State economists, expected to revisit the outlook after the session begins in March, have currently projected a surplus of around $1 billion for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Tags: Business, News

Comments (5)

3:01AM JAN 26TH 2014
One example would be; why can FLA not be the place that Caterpillar (CAT) relocates to when they are finally fed up with Illinois? The company will look at the demographics available. Why go to Texas when FLA, probably JAX, fits the bill? Not arguing with you, just conversing.
2:53AM JAN 26TH 2014
My point, on point, was that the future of our state depends on STEM. Your detailed knowledge of things FLA is understood. However, take a step back and see the big picture, without an ideological perspective. This state needs to get with it. As a high-schooler in the 70's, in the summertime I pitched melons and picked oranges in central FLA. That is not there anymore. Now I have a MS in Computer Science by the grace of God, and I am already aware of your credentials so do not repeat them. We need a basically competent workforce that can provide the demographic that business is looking for to be the workforce that they need. Can we not agree that having the people available to do the work needed, is a good thing for our state? I am all in for FLA, regardless of party.
9:38AM JAN 24TH 2014
Gee, money for education, money for the environment . . . . one would almost think it must be an election year . . . .
3:18AM JAN 25TH 2014
Or maybe just clear thinking, about how to increase prosperity across the board...about a delineation of costs to the citizens, many of whom care very much about the Everglades, as do I (born and raised in S. FL). My dad was killed by big sugar in 1965, I understand the politics involved in South Florida. But right now STEM is the way to help our best and brightest up through the murky path that is the national educational system... which is...
11:19AM JAN 25TH 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right, which is why our priorities are to create a new STEM university out in the middle of nowhere, after holding university funding hostage in a my-way-or-the-highway confrontation, just to build a legacy fiefdom for an individual Senator that even SSN complained about . . . . and it's why we cut funding to secondary education by over a billion dollars before having to partly replace it last year (and continue to have some of the lowest per capita educational funding in the country - in the bottom 1/4) . . . . . and it's why we're fighting the funding of additional medical care in the state, while companies owned by Gov. Rick Scott's finance chairman win potentially billions in Medicaid contracts . . . . and it's why we laid off scientists at the water management districts involved with Everglades restoration and at DEP while our rivers and springs started to die and citizens in even conservative districts started screaming about those issues . . . . yes, this election year's sudden emergence of proposed funding as a priority in the Governor's reelection year couldn't be political . . . . oh, no . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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