Northwest Florida State College’s Aviation Center of Excellence Takes Flight with Triumph Gulf Coast Advancing to Term Sheet

NICEVILLE, FL – Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) is excited to announce the Triumph Gulf Coast Board unanimously voted to advance the Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE) project at its meeting on March 3. The Triumph Gulf Coast Board’s action moves the proposal forward from economic impact review to term sheet development. Over the next ten years, the College projects Northwest Florida residents will earn at least 1,255 industry-recognized certificates. The proposal seeks an investment of $8,782,065 from the Triumph Gulf Coast Board, representing 46.3% of the $18.9 million project.

The Aviation Center of Excellence will be located in the Crestview Technology Air Park at the Bob Sikes Airport and will provide FAA, industry-recognized certifications in airframe mechanics, powerplant mechanics and professional pilot technology. This transformational center serves as a catalyst for workforce training to support the growing aerospace community in our region. The College estimates this project will yield $29 million in economic impact in terms of wages from the degree completers and those employed in support of the project.

“Northwest Florida State College is committed to enhancing workforce, economic and community advancement opportunities in our area,” said NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. “At this point in our College’s history, we are laser-focused on career education and workforce development to meet business and industry needs and position the region for quality growth. We extend our sincere gratitude to Chairman Don Gaetz, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board, and the administrative team for their due diligence and careful vetting of applications to serve the best interest of Northwest Florida.”

NWFSC has partnered with Dr. Paul Hsu, who has championed this project and supported the College with a build-to-suit lease at the Crestview Technology Air Park to meet the program’s distinct needs. Additionally, the Okaloosa Aviation Board has supported the project with the construction of a parking lot at the facility, at a cost of $600,000, to ensure adequate parking for students, faculty and staff. Also lending strong support for this transformational project was the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners and Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County Executive Director Nathan Sparks. Lastly, CareerSource Okaloosa Walton stands ready to assist the College with linking employers and job seekers.

About Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.

Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is a nonprofit corporation organized to oversee the expenditure of 75 percent of all funds recovered by the Florida attorney general for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is required to administer the distribution of the funds to be used for the recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the eight Northwest Florida counties disproportionately affected by the oil spill. Those counties include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla.

Pictured: NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson addresses the Triumph Gulf Coast Board at the March 3 meeting.

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