Florida has set a bold goal to be the #1 state in workforce education by 2030. Northwest Florida has many public-private partnerships to help the state achieve this goal. One in Jackson County that is located in the Florida Panhandle is the partnership between Rex Lumber and Chipola College. They have worked together to develop curriculum for their engineering, manufacturing and building construction programs and meet regularly to keep it continuously updated for it to stay fresh and relevant.
Rex Lumber has been producing high quality lumber products for over 90 years and is family owned and operated. Their employees are the key to their success, both past and future. Currently they manufacture Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) dimension lumber and serve all sectors in the SYP Industry including treaters, truss manufacturers, exporters, remanufacturers, and more.
Caroline Dauzat of Rex Lumber explains that "for years we have been dealing with this issue of lack of skilled labor." To combat this, they were working toward creating their own in-house training program to grow their employees into what they needed in terms of skills, but Chipola was able to fill that void for them. Caroline further explains that they can utilize this program by sending their employees through the training or hire students that have completed the program that have a "baseline of education so they can take them to the next level within our industry." To show their dedication, Rex Lumber has given back to Chipola and to the community by donating money for scholarships into this workforce training program to prepare students entering the industry.
Darwin Gilmore, Dean of Workforce at Chipola College, says that "Rex Lumber is one of our best partners not only because they provide scholarships in abundance to our engineering and manufacturing programs, but they also have been very gracious to support us when we started our brand new Building Construction Program by supplying us with plank lumber for the students to use in multiple occasions." Dean Gilmore further explains that "companies like Rex Lumber don't mind giving back since Chipola College is able to supply them with their employee needs."
Chipola College continues to grow their programs and utilize their Advisory Board to help mutate their curriculum to better serve the companies in the local communities. They have already received multiple grants that will be used to add more curriculum with existing programs as well as create new programs that will better serve these companies and the community as a whole.
Sponsored by Enterprise Florida. Content created by Jackson County Economic Development Committee, Inc.