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June 22, 2004

Frances Marine or
MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Horne Lauds Florida's Best Business and Education Partnerships 2004 Award Recipients

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner Jim Horne today congratulated the recipients of Florida's Best Business and Education Partnerships 2004 awards. Florida's Best recognizes programs showing exemplary work in building partnerships between businesses and educational institutions to create job opportunities for students.

Winning partnerships include at least one education institution (high school, vocational-technical school or community college) and at least one business partner. This year, 19 winners were chosen from the Florida Chamber's six regions across the state.

"I applaud businesses across Florida for stepping up to the plate to help train the next generation of leaders and their education partners for finding new ways of helping our students prepare for the future," said Commissioner Horne. "These award recipients understand the incredible impact they can have on education — the single most important economic development issue in this state."

Entries were judged by a panel of educators and business leaders selected by the Office of Workforce Education, Florida Department of Education. At the ceremony, each winning partnership was presented with a $500 award made payable to the education partner.

The winners are as follows:

Northwest Region

  • Rahal Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Nissan and Chipola College — Marianna
  • United States Navy, Naval Air Station, (NAS) Whiting Field and Santa Rosa Adult School — Milton

Northeast Region

  • Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Florida, Incorporated and Baker County School District
  • US Army Signal Command and School, Fort Gordon, Georgia and Florida Community College at Jacksonville (FCCJ)
  • Florida Recreational Vehicle(RV) Trade Association (FRVTA) and Lake City Community College (LCCC)
  • Industry Advisory Committee for the Golf and Landscape Industries and Lake City Community College (LCCC)

East Central Region

  • Marion County Health Department, University of Florida, and Central Florida Community College, Ocala
  • Florida Hospital, Health Central, Orlando Regional Healthcare, Osceola Regional Medical Center and Valencia Community College
  • Baxter HealthCare Corporation, Largo and St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg
  • Piper Aircraft Corporation and School District of Indian River County

West Central Region

  • HCA BayCare, Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg Community College and Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough Counties
  • Greater Haines City Area Chamber of Commerce, Ridge Technical Center and Haines City High School
  • Wal-Mart and Oak Park School — Sarasota

Southwest Region

  • Val Ward Cadillac, Inc. and Lee County High Tech Center Central — Ft. Myers
  • Naples Community Hospital, Inc. and Edison Community College — Nursing Collier Campus
  • Lee County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Edison Community College — Fort Myers

Southern Region

  • CH2MHill and Stranahan High School — Fort Lauderdale
  • Command Spanish, Inc. and Palm Beach Community College
  • Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. & the Lexus Division and Miami Lakes Educational Center

Sponsors included Wachovia Bank, which sponsored the "Idea Book" that describes each partnership and serves as a learning tool for building future partnerships; The Florida Lottery; and the Florida School Book Depository

For more information about Florida's Best visit our website: