Gov. Rick Scott visited the Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie headquarters in Jacksonville on Tuesday to announce he plans to double funding to a Quick Response Training program to make the state more competitive for businesses looking to expand in Florida.
Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie used the QRT program when combining their corporate headquarters in Jacksonville.
"One of the things that helped us to compete -- and eventually bring Bi-Lo to Florida -- was our state’s Quick Response Training program," Scott said. "We will work with the Florida Legislature to double state funding for Florida’s Quick Response Training program -- bringing total funding to $12 million -- so we can make our state even more competitive in the recruitment and retention of companies."
The QRT program works with employers, workforce boards, colleges and school districts to find the best situation to provide training for new employees. The program matches the needs of businesses with colleges who can provide specific skills to workers to match a company's needs.
Scott said that before Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie merged, they were two impressive businesses that employed families across the nation. Bi-Lo’s roots stem from Greenville, S.C., wheres they expanded to ultimately employ 17,000 people. Winn-Dixie has been a steadfast symbol of the Jacksonville community for decades -- at one time the area's only Fortune 500 company.
After the merger, the company has 690 grocery stores, employes 63,000 and is worth more than $500 million. What became the nation's ninth largest supermarket chain decided to keep the corporate headquarters in Jacksonville.