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Adam Putnam Spotlights “Florida Jobs First Agenda” at Dean Steel Buildings in Fort Myers


Fort Myers, FL — Adam Putnam joined employees of Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., this afternoon as part of his “Florida Jobs First Agenda” tour. During his visit, Putnam focused on his plan to increase vocational and technical training opportunities for Floridians while highlighting the opportunities for skilled workers. 

“We want Florida to be the place where any one of our kids or grandkids can find a job and not have to move off to Atlanta or Charlotte to find good work,” Putnam said. “It means we need to diversify our economy and have more manufacturing here in Florida.”

“We are not just tourism, we are not just agriculture, it’s not just home building, it’s all of those things and more. That’s the kind of Florida economy we can build by supporting small businesses, by keeping taxes low and by training the workforce of tomorrow. Vocational and technical training is how we are going to do it.”

“We need to reorient our education system to include technical and career education so that all of our kids have the opportunity to find their piece of the American Dream.”

“The Florida Jobs First Agenda is a fantastic plan for Florida,” said Nanette Dean, President of Dean Steel Buildings, Inc. “The people we are trying to draw in here at Dean Steel Buildings are just not here, most of the people that we are bringing in are from up North. Adam Putnam’s plan will strengthen manufacturing here in Florida, which is what we need.”

Charles Dean, Nannette’s father, purchased the business in 1973 from his father, Bob Dean, and reiterated his daughter’s concerns with finding talent here in Florida.

“Over the 50 years that I’ve been doing this, it has been very difficult to find and hire trained people. It has always been the problem, and we’ve had to look elsewhere in order to find our employees. We cannot find the talent here because it’s not taught in the schools. Adam Putnam’s plan is absolutely what we need in this state,” Dean said.

Dean Steel Buildings, Inc. is a family owned business and the largest manufacturer of metal building systems in Florida. The business continuously seeks skilled labor such as welders, machinists, machine operators, manufacturing programmers and robotics programmers. Businesses like Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., rely on skilled workers, and Adam Putnam’s plan aims to give Floridians the skills they need to compete for these jobs. 

ICYMI: Orlando Sentinel: At Orlando event, Adam Putnam calls for increased vocational training

Orlando Sentinel:At Orlando event, Adam Putnam calls for increased vocational training

By Steven Lemongello

View the article here:

Adam Putnam pushed for increased vocational and technical training in schools on a visit to an automotive technology plant outside Orlando Wednesday.

“We all know there are a lot of ways to accomplish the American dream,” said Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner and Republican candidate for governor. “There are a lot of ways to obtain a great-paying job and a good career that don’t require student loan debt and a four-year university. And it’s ok to say that.”

Putnam took a tour of Voxx Automotive, located near Lake Nona, which develops and manufactures auto technology like the Evo system, a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-integrated screen on the back of car seats.

“We don’t tend to think of Florida as being an automotive manufacturing state,” Putnam said. “And we don’t necessarily tend to think of Florida as an electronics manufacturing state. And yet, right here, we’re putting those two industries together.”

“It is exciting to see how many jobs are surrounding that marriage of electronics and OEM [original equipment manufacturer],” he said. “And anybody who’s a parent knows how important it is to have that screen in the back of the front seat to keep the kids happy. And that’s all going on right here in Central Florida.”

Putnam said his “Florida Jobs First Agenda” would include restoring vocational technical training to middle schools and high schools.

“I will modernize career training,” Putnam said. “This is not your dad’s shop class. This is electronics. This is coding. This is health care. It’s advanced manufacturing. It’s the eyes, it’s the quality control. It’s all of the things that are going on right here in this industry and in open, available jobs all over Florida.”

He called the current treatment of technical education “second class,” noting that no state Teacher of the Year has come from that field.

He added that calling for more jobs and training that don’t require degrees “is not a war in universities. This is not pitting vocational training against state colleges. We need both.”

Voxx Automotive president Edward Mas said he agreed with Putnam that “everybody is not geared for college. I was one of those before I figured out what to do.”

Mas , who spent the first ten years of his career as a welder before deciding to get into management, said “a lot of people start at the bottom and work their way up. You see that here. It’s not just a factory and shipping, you can really make a career here.”

Mas also said a return of manufacturing jobs doesn’t just mean jobs for factory workers but also engineers and other contributing positions.

Putnam aces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast, in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine are running in the Democratic primary.

Adam Putnam Shares “Florida Jobs First Agenda” at VOXX Automotive in Orlando


Orlando, FL — Adam Putnam continued his “Florida Jobs First Agenda” tour in Orlando this afternoon at VOXX Automotive. Putnam highlighted his plan to expand vocational and technical training programs for Floridians and discussed the demand for skilled workers at VOXX Automotive and throughout the state.

“VOXX Automotive is a great example of a hardworking team of Floridians, who love their state, enjoy their job and want their children to have opportunities to have good jobs here in Florida,” Putnam said.

“We all know that there are a lot of ways to accomplish the American Dream, and it involves hard work, tenacity and making the most of every opportunity. But it doesn’t necessarily require a four-year university degree and student loan debt.”

“Our education system is out of balance, and we need to restore that balance by restoring vocational and technical education back into our middle schools and back into our high schools so that all of our students have an opportunity to find their piece of the American Dream.”

Edward Mas, President of VOXX Automotive said Putnam’s vision is important for Florida’s future and his growing business. 

“We are very excited to have Adam Putnam here at VOXX Automotive today.  Adam has a good sense of what needs to be done to grow manufacturing jobs in Central Florida. His philosophies and Florida Jobs First Agenda will create better opportunities for our workforce and our businesses in Central Florida and throughout the state,” Mas said. 

VOXX Automotive currently employs more than 200 workers and is expected to hire an additional 50 to 75 skilled workers over the next two years. Rapidly growing businesses like VOXX depend on skilled workers, and Adam Putnam’s plan aims to provide Floridians with the skills they need to compete for these jobs in Florida’s economy — and win.  

ICYMI: News Herald: If Governor, Putnam pledges to modernize vocational training

News Herald: If Governor, Putnam pledges to modernize vocational training

By John Henderson

View the article here:

His “Florida Jobs First” agenda is “not your father’s shop class,” the gubernatorial candidate said.

PANAMA CITY — Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam chose Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City as the site to announce his “Florida Jobs First” agenda, bolstering vocational and technical education training throughout the state.

As the clanking sounds of shipbuilding echoed in the background, Putnam told the media that the these are the types of jobs that Florida needs to support.

“As I look behind me there is welding, manufacturing, heavy equipment operating,” he said. “These are the jobs that built America — jobs that made the last century ‘The American Century.’ And variations of these jobs will continue to make this century also The American Century.”

He said his “Florida Jobs First” plan begins with modernizing career training.

Putnam said according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the state needs to add about 2 million jobs by 2030 just to keep pace with the state’s population increase, and many of the fastest-growing jobs in Florida will not require a four-year degree.

“So we begin with our Jobs First agenda by modernizing that career training, bringing career and technical training back into the middle schools, back into the high schools where they were stripped away from over the last generation,” Putnam said.

But he said the program is “not your father’s shop class.”

“This a modern version of it,” Putnam said. “It involves laptops and coding, cyber security, health care, as well as the traditional construction trades. Inviting businesses to the table has to be a part of successful vocational education. The job providers know what skills are needed when they arrive at the workplace.”

Putnam said creating a “common course number system” would make it seamless for vocational and technical students to transfer credits from one school to another.

“That is not currently the case for career and technical education. We need to increase the flexibility, reduce the time to completion and save students money by preventing them from re-taking classes they’ve already taken,” he said.

Putnam said his initiative would create more career academies in the high schools so that students graduate with certificates in their career fields. “And they are ready to leave high school and find a job, not simply leave high school and find a mountain of student debt if they want to go to the next level of higher education,” he said.

Putnam said guidance counselors need to be given better resources and training for students on the technical training path.

“They deserve to know what all of the salary options are for any number of careers that they may be interested in,” he said. “We need to attract top teachers. Think about this — Florida has never had as a ‘Teacher of the Year’ anyone with a career in technical education background.”

He said that is a powerful example of how “we’ve treated career and technical education like a second class citizen.”

He said as governor he would expand Florida’s apprenticeship programs.

“It is an earn-while-you-learn approach that rewards students for their hands-on learning experiences,” he said. “There should be no barriers to prevent a student from both earning a paycheck and earning credit towards a certification or credit hours towards a degree.”

Putnam is facing U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Scott. Scott cannot run for governor again due to term limits.

On Monday morning, the Democratic Party of Florida, noting that Putnam was going to make the announcement in Panama City, issued a statement criticizing Putnam’s record on supporting vocational education. “In Congress, Putnam spent years voting against job training grants and STEM education. Putnam’s so-called plan to improve vocational education is just a cynical political stunt designed to hide his long record of opposing educational opportunities for Florida students and workers,” the statement said.

But Putnam defended his record, saying “Anyone who has ever watched me, followed me and paid attention to things that I am focused on knows that I have always made vocational training, supporting small businesses and working families a priority,” he said. “It comes from who I am, and my own background as a small business owner, as a farmer, as somebody who benefited from vocational education in Florida’s public schools.”