With Jacksonville’s financial service industry expanding, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday the state is allotting $3.7 million to start a financial technology education initiative in Northeast Florida.
“We have the potential to do a lot of good things,” DeSantis said during an announcement of the grant at Florida State College at Jacksonville, where he was flanked by company executives and college presidents from around the region.
The grant follows up on a goal DeSantis outlined in September of cultivating a workforce to fill job needs of the area’s growing list of financial service employers.
Mayor Lenny Curry said he regularly talks to CEOs interested in moving to Jacksonville who say their companies need employees trained in financial technology, or FinTech.
The city has already landed some out-of-town businesses and helped some local firms grow. Tech firms SoFi and SS&C Technologies announced plans last year to create about 500 jobs between them, and Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Information Services expects to add another 500 jobs over the coming decade.
But Curry said key jobs have gone to people imported from other states because of their technical training, and said it was important to close that gap.
Preparing locals for financial technology work can matter to children growing up in Jacksonville and their families, too, said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, the JAX Chamber’s economic development arm.
“This is about keeping our talent,” said Wallace, who said he’d like to see FinTech instruction eventually start around junior high school.