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TCC awarded millions in grants aimed at rebuilding Florida after Hurricane Michael

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 8:20 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 10, 2021 at 9:44 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The state of Florida is now offering close to $3 million in grants at Tallahassee Community College to help students with careers in welding and construction.

Governor Ron DeSantis made the announcement on Tuesday.

TCC administrators tell WCTV the funding could help hundreds of students as there is a growing demand for construction jobs in the state.

These new grants are a part of “Rebuild Florida” which is meant to help North Florida continue its recovery from Hurricane Michael.

“People need welders now,” said Jonelle Pate, a welding student at TCC.

Pate says he wanted to be a welder since he was a kid, a skill he says technology cannot replace.

“It’s not the same as actual people working with tools and stuff. You could have some technology problems, people mess up sometimes but we can fix it right then and there,” said Pate.

TCC officials say the workforce program addresses critical needs.

“Looking at two factors. How do we get folks back into jobs but with the skills that they need to not only improve their own livelihood but also Florida,” said Kimberly Moore, the vice president for workforce innovation at TCC.

Moore says the program requires about 400 school hours which can be accomplished in a semester.

She says many other skills supported by the new grant can help North Florida.

“Also carpentry, thinking about HVAC, masonry. All those traits that employers are absolutely vying for now. It’s critical to rebuilding and putting Florida back to where it once was or even on a better footing,” she said.

Moore says the grant will also be used to create tiny homes which will be placed at the Wakulla Environmental Institute as a part of their sustainable living program.

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