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East County Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 4 years ago

MTC receives historic grant

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Governor presents first Florida Job Growth Grant Fund award to East County technical college.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Eighteen-year-old Casey Rose hasn’t graduated from high school, but this week he had a job interview for a position with a starting pay of $20 per hour.

The Braden River High School senior is dual enrolled in Manatee Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing and Production Technology program, where he is learning about robotics, milling equipment and computer-aided systems.

“My main goal is no matter what someone throws at me, I’ll be prepared,” Rose said while programming a robot at MTC.

The program, which began with nine dual-enrollment students in September, takes center stage Jan. 29 at MTC when a new set of classes begins, this time with equipment funded through a $200,000 state grant.

Gov. Rick Scott awarded MTC the grant Jan. 10 so it could immediately purchase high-tech equipment used by manufacturing companies in Manatee County, such as 3-D printers, laser engravers and programmable logic controller training systems.

The funding comes from the new Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The fund will offer $85 million for public infrastructure and job training projects that support Florida’s economy.

“You travel this state, and you don’t meet people who don’t want to work,” Scott said during a news conference at MTC. “The dream always starts with being able to support yourself and live on your own.”

Scott said MTC’s Machining Technologies class is an example of how the state hopes to prepare students for the workforce. The six-month program teaches students how to move materials to and from machines by operating a wide variety of robotics, sensors and industrial computer-control systems.

“It’s a constant assembly line and somebody has to design, build and maintain them, plus continuing to improve the system,” said Doug Wagner, executive director for the Adult, Career and Technical Education program at MTC. “All of that is part of the advanced manufacturing process. That’s why it’s such an exciting field.”

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