Northwest Florida State College Recognized with Gold Level Endorsement by Central Gulf Industrial Alliance

Niceville, Fla.– Central Gulf Industrial Alliance (CGIA) is a regional alliance composed of industrial owners, contractors, associates, and training organizations focused on improving industry performance in the areas of safety, workforce development, quality, and productivity. As part of their mission, CGIA leads a nationally recognized evaluation and endorsement process for regional industrial craft training programs to ensure they operate at or above industry standards and meet the workforce needs of the members’ industries.

CGIA completed reviews of several training programs across the Central Gulf region for 2021 and has awarded a GOLD level endorsement to Northwest Florida State College’s welding program. Of the seven programs evaluated, NWFSC was the only program to receive the highest GOLD level designation.

“Northwest Florida State College’s welding program is committed to the highest standards of excellence in workforce education,” said NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. “CGIA’s recognition further confirms that the NWFSC welding program stands out above others in the region as a premier training provider producing highly-skilled employees to meet the needs of industry.”

The CGIA Endorsement Program involves industry subject matter experts who evaluate critical elements of the training program, including safety, curriculum, instructional methods, and facilities. Another review component is accomplished through employer surveys and results in an Industry Confidence Index, an indicator designed to measure the industry’s confidence in a training provider’s ability to meet their workforce needs. A program can earn an endorsement at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels based on these measurements. CGIA also offers the opportunity for programs to improve in order to receive a future endorsement.

The Welding program at Northwest Florida State College scored 59 out of a possible 60 points for the second review in a row, resulting in a top-level endorsement. CGIA-endorsed programs are offered countless benefits, including donations from member companies, access to guest speakers, industrial facility tours, and being highlighted on CGIA’s website. “The intent of this tool is to identify and provide increased support to quality training programs that ultimately lead to employment by CGIA member companies,” said Eddie Clayton, Contracting and Workforce Development Strategies Manager for Southern Company and CGIA President.

“Through this endorsement program, CGIA will enhance relationships between its member companies and training providers. We will also enhance workforce development efforts to build a talent pipeline and meet the demand of industry while supporting economic growth along the Gulf Coast,” added Kristie Kelley, Executive Director of CGIA.

To learn more about the welding program at Northwest Florida State College, please contact Scottie Smith, Director of Welding Technology, at 850-729-5224 or

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