The Triumph Gulf Coast Board recently decided to provide up to $1.4 million in funding for training construction workers at technical schools in areas in and near communities ravaged by last year’s Hurricane Michael.

PANAMA CITY — Triumph Gulf Coast has voted to provide funding to allow up to 220 new construction workers per year to be trained in high-demand skills at the region’s technical schools, according to a Thursday press release.


Funding would continue for up to three years as the demand continues, according to a Thursday press release.


As the need for skilled construction workers continues to slow recovery across the area affected by last year’s Hurricane Michael, the Triumph board voted to commit up to $1.4 million in funding for skilled labor certifications and recruitment of students to fill the work needs of the area in 2020. If the program is successful in providing the needed workforce, it will be continued with additional funding through 2022.


In addition, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to fund four projects across the region, totaling more than $7.8 million. To date, the Triumph board has voted to proceed with 29 projects totaling over $240 million.


In Santa Rosa County, the board voted to negotiate a term sheet, a non-binding agreement outlining conditions of the investment, with county officials for a $3.5 million infrastructure grant to win a pharmaceutical and medical device distribution company expansion at the I-10 Industrial Park.


Project Lionheart is expected create 90 new jobs. The project also will invest $6 million in the community, including construction of a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, if infrastructure improvements are made at the site.


In Gulf County, the Gulf Franklin Campus of Gulf Coast State College requested a $2,2 million Triumph grant to increase the number of students served in its nursing programs. The board agreed to move the request forward and voted to enter into term-sheet negations. The program would be expanded through creation of a nursing simulation center allowing students to perform clinical training on-site.


Also, the Triumph board voted to start term-sheet negotiations on a grant proposal from a regional economic development organization, Florida’s Great Northwest. The organization is seeking $440,000 for a research and marketing project.


The project, slated to cost $910,000, will focus on a return-on-investment analysis for career and technical education programs, supply-and-demand analysis for industry certifications, and marketing and promotion of regional workforce and training programs.


In other recent action, the Triumph board approved a grant award agreement for a joint project from the Walton Economic Development Alliance, Walton County and the city of DeFuniak Springs for $1.7 million to extend water and sewer service along the west side of U.S. Highway 331. The extension would run from I-10 south for approximately four miles.


The EDA and the county are negotiating for parcels of land along the corridor suitable for business, industrial, and commercial development, and have committed to creation and maintenance of at least 100 new private-sector jobs at the new development. The EDA already has a commitment from a defense contractor for 35 new jobs, according to the Triumph press release.