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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Establish a Workforce Training Facility at Florida Gateway College

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.4 million grant to Florida Gateway College of Lake City, Florida, to support the construction of the Gateway College Commercial Vehicle Driving Postsecondary Adult Vocational Facility. The project, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $265,867 in local investment, and is expected to help create or retain nearly 600 jobs.

“Through efforts like the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the Trump Administration is committed to creating a workforce with the skills and training tailored to business needs,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Florida Gateway College’s new training facility will help address the region’s need for skilled truck drivers by training students at a state-of-the-art facility.”

“Lake City and Columbia County will greatly benefit from this new facility,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Skilled truck drivers are essential to the transportation of goods across our state and we are always in need of new talent to fill this critical area in the workforce. We are grateful to the Trump Administration for their continued support.”

“I welcome the Department of Commerce’s $2.4 million investment in Florida Gateway College for construction of a vocational facility that will provide training for a qualified workforce,” said Senator Rubio. “It is critical we invest in long-term solutions to foster dignified work in our communities.”

“My adopted father’s job as a truck driver helped provide for our family growing up, so I know firsthand how valuable a reliable job is for families to succeed,” said Senator Rick Scott. “This $2.4 million grant to build the Gateway College Commercial Vehicle Driving Postsecondary Adult Vocational Facility will help train Floridians for successful jobs in a high-demand industry, and give more families in my state the opportunity to live their dreams.”

“A quality vocational education can lead to a promising and valuable career,” said Representative Al Lawson. “The Florida Gateway College job-training facility will open many doors for our residents to gain skills in the area of transportation, and as a result, help to build Lake City’s workforce.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. EDA funds North Central Florida Regional Planning Council to help 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 designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. 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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