PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Since the devastation of Hurricane Michael, Governor Ron DeSantis says he has been committed to revitalizing the area’s infrastructure, economy and well-being of residents.
On Tuesday the governor hosted a media conference in Panama City.
Governor DeSantis says he knows recovery is a long-term effort, but on the state level, his team is looking to provide additional financial relief to the area.
“I’m directing the division of emergency management to approve all pending federal cost-share waivers from eligible local governments and entities,” said Governor DeSantis.
That means 100 percent of costs incurred by local governments responding to Hurricane Michael will be waived, with federal and state governments covering all costs related to the storm.
“This cost-share program will save just Bay County 17 million dollars. Not including Panama City, Callaway, Springfield, Parker, and Panama City Beach,” said State Representative for District 6, Jay Trumbull.
Gov. DeSantis also announced more than $4 million in grants for workforce development in Hurricane Michael-affected counties, known as the Rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery Training Program, administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity.
“This is a no-brainer to be able to provide opportunities in these industries,” said DeSantis.
4.7 million dollars will go towards Chipola College and Tallahassee Community College. The hope is to address the infrastructure needs in the Panhandle while providing more opportunities for residents by lowering unemployment.
“The construction trade is critical for rebuilding communities that were devastated by Hurricane Michael, in particular, the program provides funding to local workforce development boards, education institutions, and technical centers to launch training centers to launch training programs that address the increased demand in the construction trade.” said Governor DeSantis.
“There’s plenty of those opportunities for those trades. So we look forward to the governor’s initiatives. Not everybody needs to go to college, there is trade work out there that you can make a six-digit figure income. We encourage those people to take advantage of that.” said Bay County Commissioner, Philip ‘Griff’ Griffitts.
“They can now at no cost go into these institutions, apply for this opportunity and get skills that will give back to them for a lifetime, construction, welding, and many other opportunities,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Dane Eagle.
“There are just so many avenues that are going to be available at this point and time, so it’ll be good for them to take advantage of it,” said Bay County Commissioner, Doug Moore.
This opportunity should be available to students in those career fields by August.
Governor DeSantis says more grants are expected in the coming months.