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Nassau County School District Wins Competitive Grant Funds for Entrepreneurship and Training

In October, the Florida Department of Education announced a competitive funding opportunity for school districts and state colleges.  While there are 74 school districts in Florida (67 counties and research and specialty schools) and 28 state colleges, only 22 projects were awarded across the state.  Nassau County ($50,000 award) was one of 12 school districts to receive an award and the only district in the 8-county workforce region.  Florida State College at Jacksonville ($25,000) was one of 10 state colleges receiving funds.

Monies from the project will be used to offer an Entrepreneurship and Marketing Summer Institute for 8th through 11th graders across the district, construction of a half credit hybrid or virtual business leadership skills course for 8th graders, and classroom tie-ins between high school multimedia courses and the Institute for Enterprise (I4E) NTCC (Bean Center) Entrepreneurship program.  In addition to I4E, Nassau County 4-H will become a partner in several of the new endeavors.  According to CTE Director, Brent Lemond, the goal is to create a more systemic pipeline for the NTCC program by exposing students to business skills at a younger age.  “Ultimately, we are growing the innovators of tomorrow,” said Lemond.

Brian Simmons, the district’s Entrepreneurship instructor, was the project lead on the grant application and will be coordinating most of the grant activities.  Simmons is not only an accomplished teacher, he owns a local business, Compute This! in Callahan, and is a member of the Northeast Florida Fair Board.  In addition to the Entrepreneurship program, he also teaches the Computer Systems and Information Technology program, both at the Bean Center.

“With this grant more students will be exposed to the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset and have the opportunity to meet local small business owners. It is exciting that we are able to expand our entrepreneurship program in a way that reaches middle school students.” said Simmons.

For more information on this story or any of the Nassau County School District’s Career Education Programs, contact:

Brent Lemond
Director of Career and Adult Education
Nassau County School District
1201 Atlantic Avenue
Fernandina Beach, FL  32034
(904) 548-4474 Office