The University of West Florida is further positioned to find and fill critical gaps in Northwest Florida’s high-tech workforce through a newly approved Triumph Gulf Coast grant. Triumph’s board of directors unanimously approved the grant agreement on Friday, Oct. 4, to address shortages in additive and advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity.
“This project is a result of a majestic effort on behalf of the UWF team and the Triumph staff,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The vision for the future is to be the leading destination for education, research, workforce development and training. This is great news and we look forward to moving this project forward on behalf of Triumph Gulf Coast and the Northwest Florida region.”
Triumph, the nonprofit corporation organized to administer funds recovered by the state for economic damages that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, awarded $14.5 million toward the University of West Florida Project 10[X]. UWF is committing $22.95 million, the remaining cost of the estimated $37.45 million project. The project received provisional approval subject to negotiating a term sheet and legal contract.
Through the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, the Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, UWF will offer industry certifications that align with the Florida Career and Professional Education Act. UWF plans to produce more than 3,000 certifications in these areas over the five-year project timeframe.
“Industry certifications are recognizable, transferable skills that will continue benefiting the prosperity pipeline for many years to come,” Saunders said. “This project will produce some of the nation’s most talented and elite professionals who are highly skilled, credentialed and ready to work.”
UWF serves as the Centers of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S., as designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Through its Center for Cybersecurity, the University partners with federal, state and local agencies, as well as private-sector companies.
“The world of cybersecurity is exploding all around us in the national sphere as well as in the private economy,” said Don Gaetz, chair of the Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors. “Unlike many economic projects, UWF’s proposal is clear, present and urgent as opposed to a need that has to be reduced.”
UWF’s strong relationship across Northwest Florida through the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and FloridaMakes places the institution one-on-one with employers and improving competitiveness and productivity of Florida’s Manufacturers. The existing relationship empowers UWF to accelerate opportunities for training and education while providing exceptional value through collaborative industry work through the Sea3D Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory.