Triumph Gulf Coast Board Approves $7 Million Grant to Northwest Florida State College for Aviation Center of Excellence – Largest Grant in College History

NICEVILLE – Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) is excited to announce the Triumph Gulf Coast Board unanimously voted to approve a grant of $7,064,665 to Northwest Florida State College to fund the Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE) project at its meeting on June 18. This transformational center serves as a catalyst for workforce training to support the growing aerospace community in our region.

Over the next 10 years, the project anticipates at least 307 students will earn 1,255 FAA industry-recognized certificates, with 184 to be certified in airframe and powerplant mechanics and 123 to gain professional pilot certificates. The grant agreement provides an investment of $7,064,665 from Triumph Gulf Coast Inc., representing 49% of the $14,367,918 total project costs. Training will be provided at the Crestview Technology Air Park at the Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview.

“It is a historic moment for Northwest Florida State College as we receive the largest grant in the institution’s history, and I am exceptionally proud of our College’s Grants Development and Academic Affairs departments for their hard work to pull this across the line,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, President, Northwest Florida State College. “We extend our sincere gratitude to Chairman Don Gaetz, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board, and the administrative team for their enthusiastic support to advance our mission of educational opportunity, economic development and improvement of the quality of place for the citizens 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, Tracy Stage, Director Okaloosa County Airports and the Okaloosa Aviation Board have supported the project with the construction of the facility’s parking, to ensure adequate space for students, faculty and staff. Also lending strong support for this transformational project was the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners, Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, CareerSource Okaloosa Walton, the National Defense Industry Association, Bob Keller and a number of individual aviation industry-related companies.

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.

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