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Gov. Scott requests $20M for technical centers in 2016 budget

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Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that he will ask the Legislature to add $20 million in funding for the state’s technical centers in his 2016-17 budget recommendation.

Technical centers are run by Florida’s school districts and colleges and train workers for various jobs based on the workforce needs of the area. Scott said the $20 million would be included as a “rapid response grant” to give the centers a bit more agility in responding to an area’s specific job needs.

“We know the workers of tomorrow are in our classrooms today – and advanced workforce training at our technical centers will help our students receive the skills they need to be competitive in the global market,” Scott said. “It will also attract companies to our state looking for a high-skilled workforce.”

Scott’s request was echoed by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, who said the centers were a “critical part” of the state education system and said the $20 million funding boost would “ensure our state’s technical centers have the resources necessary to help even more students achieve their academic and career goals.”

Martin Carr, the executive director of the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education, also showed support for Scott’s plan and said his association is “very excited to be a part for the governor’s initiative.”

The governor asked the Legislature for the same amount of funding in his 2015-16 budget recommendation in January, but his request wasn’t included in the final budget passed during the special session in June.

Scott’s full budget recommendation, which he has been revealing piecemeal for the past few weeks, is due no later than 30 days before the 2016 Legislative Session, which is set to convene January 12.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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