KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced millions of dollars will be invested in Florida's manufacturing future.
The governor awarded $6 million "to build infrastructure that will connect southern Osceola County to the emerging NeoCity technology district” and another $3.7 million to Valencia College to create programs focused on workforce training for chip and semiconductor industries.
“We worked really hard in Florida to have more opportunities with vocational education. We have expanded our manufacturing footprint in the state of Florida and we want to continue to be able to do that," DeSantis said.
NeoCity, where the news conference was held, is a technology district that researches microelectronics fabrication. In December, the center was awarded half a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand semiconductor research, development and manufacturing capabilities.
According to the governor, the funds will support nearly 5,400 jobs and, based on estimates from county officials, eventually lead to tens of thousands of jobs once fully developed.
And the money for Valencia College will go toward giving students the proper education and training to take over those jobs, DeSantis added.
He explained students will be able to get certified in operating, repairing and designing robots used to create semiconductors in just 14 weeks.
“We're creating jobs not just for Floridians, we're creating jobs that would otherwise be shipped overseas," Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle, who joined the governor for this announcement, said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic showed just how reliant we are on foreign supply chains," DeSantis said. “The more that can be done here in the United States and in Florida, that gives more opportunities for people in Florida, of course which is very important, but it does strengthen our economic resiliency and it does strengthen our national security."
"I'm excited that Florida is able to be part of the solution," he added.