BP Oil Spill compensation funds will fund about ⅓ of a new healthcare learning program for Niceville and other southern Okaloosa County high school students.
The Okaloosa County School Board accepted a grant on Monday from the Triumph Gulf Coast Board for $1.29 Million to renovate buildings on the campus of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. The buildings will house the Career and Professional Eduction (CAPE) program centered on the healthcare industry. Those buildings will have both classrooms and laboratories for students’ use.
The program known as the Healthcare Academy of Northwest Florida will, in exchange for the grant, produce 432 students with CAPE certifications over the next four years. Students from Choctahatchee High School, Fort Walton Beach High School and Niceville High School can participate in the program.
The total cost for the program weighs in at about $3.66 million.
In April of 2010, the BP drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, killing 11 people and creating one of the largest natural disasters in United States history. To this day, it is the single largest oil spill in marine oil drilling history. The EPA estimates that more than four million barrels of oil spilled out of the Macondo well below the rig during the 87-day period the government and industry took to seal the well.
After the cleanup, the State of Florida formed Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. The nonprofit corporation was created to distribute the money which BP and other companies paid out as compensation for the damage they caused the people of Florida and the Gulf Coast, specifically in the eight panhandle counties which were most affected by the spill. By the writing of this article in 2022, the corporation has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to various projects designed to recoup losses suffered by the people of the area.