(1) The State Board of Education may designate centers of technology innovation at single 1community colleges, consortia of 1community colleges, or consortia of 1community colleges with other educational institutions. The state board shall adopt rules necessary to implement the provisions of this section. The state board shall cooperate with the Workforce Florida, Inc., in the designation of the centers as it relates to the centers of applied technology. (2) Centers shall be designated when a 1community college or consortia provides evidence that it has developed expertise in one or more specialized technologies. To be designated, the 1community college or consortia must provide benefits to the state, which may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Curriculum development.
(b) Faculty development.
(c) Research, testing, and technology transfer.
(d) Instructional equipment and materials identification and development.
(e) Partnerships with industries dependent upon staying current in the related technologies and in the development of workforce capabilities.
(f) Partnerships with industries needing to convert their existing technology base to other technologies in order to continue conducting business in Florida, including converting defense-related technologies to other technologies.
(3) Centers may provide services to their service area and receive funding through: (a) Serving as a technology transfer center, as created in s. 1004.78. (b) Serving as an incubator facility for small business concerns, as created in s. 1004.79. (c) Serving as an economic development center, as created in s. 1004.80. (4) Centers may provide instruction, as follows: (a) To students enrolled in the 1community college, especially for purposes of providing training for technicians in areas that support the employers involved in the technology specialization. (b) To students enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate level in a university, college, or 1community college which is a member of the designated consortia. Such enrollment shall be funded by the enrolling institution.
(c) To employees in the service area needing training and retraining in the technology of specialization, which may include, but is not limited to, the retraining necessary to convert defense-related technologies to other technologies.
(d) To secondary school students and teachers where such instruction will stimulate interest in further education.
(5) The State Board of Education shall give priority in the designation of centers to those 1community colleges that specialize in technology in environmental areas and in areas related to target industries of Enterprise Florida, Inc. Priority in designation shall also be given to 1community colleges that develop new and improved manufacturing techniques and related business practices.
(6) Centers, including the facilities of the center, may be made available to the public agencies of the state, the counties and cities of the service area, and the employers of the state and service area. Centers may also be used for applied research in the area of specialization.
(7) Each center shall have a board of directors with at least five members who shall be appointed by the district board of trustees. The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the operation of the center, approval of the annual budget, and setting policy to guide the director in the operation of the center. The board of directors shall consist of at least the following:
(a) The director of the center.
(b) The vice president of academic affairs, or the equivalent, of the 1community college. (c) The vice president of business affairs, or the equivalent, of the 1community college. (d) Two members designated by the president of the 1community college.
(8) Each center shall establish a schedule of fees or rates to be charged to all who use the facilities of the center. In addition, each center may negotiate user contracts with governmental users, industrial users, researchers, public or private educational institutions, or individuals for use of the facilities. It is the intent of the Legislature that the centers of technology innovation established pursuant to this act shall not seek any additional state funding. Centers may solicit and accept grants and donations, including, but not limited to, federal and state grants to assist companies in converting defense-related technologies to other technologies.
(9) The State Board of Education may award grants to designated centers for the purposes of this section. Grants awarded shall be in accordance with rules established by the State Board of Education, which rules shall require an annual report.