CHIPLEY - Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam appealed to the grassroots as more than a hundred gave ear at a Monday night campaign stop in Chipley.

"You can't have a cookie-cutter approach in a state as diverse as Florida is," Putnam said. "You want the flexibility for employers who have job vacancies that they can't fill, to have a seat at the table in helping the high school, vo-tech and the community college prepare students for the jobs that are in that region."

The barbeque-style event was held in a barn on Hard Labor Road.

Putnam spoke in context of his Florida Jobs First Agenda that he rolled out Monday as he made stops across the state. The policy announcement focused on economic development through expanding vocational and technical skills training for students and support for training programs at institutions.

The proposal is aimed at the 28 percent of Florida’s workforce who do not go on to earn higher education degrees. More than half of the jobs expected to be created in the state’s fastest-growing employment sectors by 2025 will require advanced training but less than a four-year college degree, a News Service Florida article stated.

"There is an inherently local aspect to workforce development because all of us want the same thing: we want our students, our kids and our grandkids to be able to grow up, graduate and not have to leave our community to find a good career," he added. "Some of them may choose to, but you don't want that to be forced on them because there are no good paying careers left in that county."

Putnam, who is currently the state's agriculture commissioner, also highlighted the need for rural economic development. He noted his office had for the last two legislative sessions tried to push "a revamping of rural economic development in Florida."

"Rural economic development is something I will continue to work on," he said. "As a guy from a small town, I know exactly what we have to do and a big piece of what we have to do is infrastructure - broad band infrastructure, digital infrastructure, utilities, access to highways and rail spurs."