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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Help Establish Welding Technology Training Facility in Tallahassee, Florida Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.25 million grant to Tallahassee Community College of Tallahassee, Florida, to help establish the Welding Technologies Laboratory at the Kim B. Williams Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. The project, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $313,692 in local investment.

“The Trump Administration has made rebuilding America’s manufacturing industry a priority and is working hard to provide American workers with the skills they need to get good jobs, including through the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Tallahassee Community College’s new Welding Technologies Laboratory will help the region’s businesses compete by providing a state-of-the art facility that will help train students for in-demand jobs. Additionally, the project’s location in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will help attract additional investment through special tax incentives.”

“As the economies of our state and country evolve, we want to ensure that we are giving students every opportunity to be successful,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This new Welding Technologies Laboratory at Tallahassee Community College will expand career opportunities and provide students with a technical skill that will enable them to succeed in the high-demand jobs of the future. With the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce, we will continue towards our goal of making Florida the number one state for career and technical education.”

“I proudly supported Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and I welcome the Department of Commerce’s investment to help Tallahassee Community College establish the new Welding Technologies Laboratory,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “This investment will help train students with the skills they need to pursue dignified work and uplift the local community.”

“By investing in our state’s workforce, we’re giving even more students the opportunity to succeed and live their dreams,” said Senator Rik Scott. “The EDA investment to establish the Welding Technologies Laboratory at Tallahassee Community College is great news for our students and the local economy, and means more opportunities for Florida families.”

This investment will allow the college to continue its history of serving workers who want to learn new marketable technical skills that are in demand in the growing economy. Welders are consistently listed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) as an in-demand occupation. Welders are critical to the success of several industry sectors in Florida, including manufacturing, ship building, and commercial construction. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Emerald Coast Regional Council. EDA funds the Emerald Coast Regional Council to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The funding announced today goes to a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, which provides special incentives for further private sector participation and development. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zone designations spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, read our blog post.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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