MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — As part of the rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery, Chipola College received a $1.7 million grant for their construction and welding program on Wednesday.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development along with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Chipola Area Habitat for Humanity partners with Chipola College and Auburn University Rural Studio to build new homes

Chipola College construction student, Gunnar Nebel, said the funding will help the program in several ways.

“It’s going help us get more materials and tools to get going to get started on bigger projects and help recruit other students to get us going as well,” Nebel said.

Chipola College has partnered with multiple organizations to help rebuild the community after Hurricane Michael. Instructors said this grant will help train more students to be able to help with their rebuilding efforts.

“I mean it’s months or even years before they can get out and help you with more of the bigger stuff and a lot of people aren’t licensed so some of the things aren’t really being done correctly,” Nebel said. “So hopefully with this Chipola program and the construction we’ll have people out in the field trying to make a difference.”

Cameron Bailey is part of the welding program at Chipola College. He said it feels good knowing he’s learning skills that could help someone recovering from Hurricane Michael.

“Some people still don’t have homes,” Bailey said. “Some people are still struggling out there so it feels nice to be able to know that I’m learning something that could possibly help people in the future.”

Welding instructor, Curtis Jenkins, said he’s hopeful the grant will attract more students to the program.

“We do believe it’s going to grow exponentially of course because of the shortage of welders and construction workers as it is as a whole,” Jenkins said. “I hope there’s going to be a bunch of students coming in. We at Chipola do.”

Summer classes at Chipola College will begin May 11th and registration for both summer and fall classes is still open. For more information on the programs, click here.