JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced $30 million in funding for a new workforce training initiative focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations and other high-skill/high-wage jobs as part of the 2014-15 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.”

The governor made the announcement at Greencore USA, a manufacturer of convenience foods, in Jacksonville, where he highlighted the company’s plans to boost its Jacksonville workforce significantly over the next several years.

“Today’s announcement of $30 million for a new STEM workforce training initiative as part of the ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ is great news for Florida families," Scott said. "Pursuing a great career often means having the skills needed by employers who are creating jobs -– especially in STEM-related fields.

"With these dollars, we will provide access to training resources for both job seekers and employers, while also providing scholarships to Floridians wishing to pursue STEM and other great careers at Florida’s state colleges and vocational centers. This strategic investment will no doubt provide Florida families with even more job opportunities so they can live the American dream."

The Workforce State Training Program, administered by Workforce Florida, Inc. will provide flexible funding to businesses seeking to train employees as well as individuals seeking training in STEM and other high-skill/high-wage occupations.

The initiative includes scholarships for students seeking training in a STEM-related occupation at a Florida state college or post-secondary vocational center. Many of the credentials necessary for eligible in-demand careers can be obtained in two years or less.

The Workforce State Training Program mirrors similar programs in economic competitor states and provides Florida a competitive advantage in attracting new business as well as retaining workers at existing Florida companies.

“Our board applauds Gov. Scott for his unwavering focus on growing high-skill/high-wage jobs in Florida. Ensuring Floridians have access to the tools needed to land those jobs and advance in their careers is an integral part of his overall plan for building Florida’s future," said Workforce Florida Board Chairman Dwayne Ingram, a partner at Avasant.

“Education and training that are tied to our in-demand industries are what’s needed to position Florida -– and Floridians -– for prosperity now and in the future. We applaud Gov. Scott for his leadership and for making this investment a priority," said Jennifer Grove, Gulf Power Company workforce development coordinator and Workforce Florida board vice chairman.