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Politics

Florida Workforce Listening Tour Coming With Focus on Career and Technical Education

October 23, 2019 - 6:00am
Richard Corcoran and Ron DeSantis
Richard Corcoran and Ron DeSantis

With the Florida Department of Education planning to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education on how career and technical education (CTE) centers around the state help students enter the workforce, state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is getting ready to hit the road. 

Corcoran announced that he will host a series of events across the state to gather input as the state gets ready to submit the report in the spring and receive federal funds. 

“President Donald Trump signed The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) into law July 31, 2018. This made available nearly $1.3 billion annually for career and technical education programs throughout the nation. Of this, Florida will receive approximately $73 million annually to expand opportunities for every student to explore, choose, and follow CTE programs of study and career pathways to earn credentials of value,” the Florida Department of Education noted. “The majority of these funds will go directly to Florida College System institutions and school districts to support their local CTE programs. Increased flexibility and increased alignment between Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and Perkins are core considerations during the planning and development process. To that end, the Department has also invited the Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida and Enterprise Florida to take part in these public hearings.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis said his administration is committed to improving CTE across Florida. 

“Thanks to President Trump signing The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, Florida is on its way to being the #1 state in the nation for workforce education by 2030,” said DeSantis. “This grant, along with our Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget, enables us to help provide Floridians with opportunities to achieve economic prosperity through expanded apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, affordable workforce housing, recovery workforce training grants and the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. Florida will remain a state where businesses are encouraged to grow and where meaningful jobs are created.”

“The timing of this opportunity is impeccable as statewide interest in workforce education is at an all-time high, thanks to Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-31,” said Corcoran.“The Perkins V state plan will build upon the tremendous work taking place to ensure all Floridians have a pathway to achieve their career goals. It will likely be another decade before the next Perkins is enacted, so this is a significant opportunity to put in place funded strategies that will help us to achieve our goal of making Florida #1 in the nation in workforce education by 2030.”

“Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran’s dedication to enhancing Florida’s workforce education is remarkable,” said Ken Lawson, the executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We are eager to hear from the public and to work with our state partners to develop strategies to prepare Florida for the workforce jobs of the future.”

“Access to quality career and technical education that aligns to market demand is so important for Florida’s students in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “We are grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for their leadership in this transformative process to ensure Florida has the strongest CTE system in the country.”

“We appreciate Governor DeSantis’ continuing efforts to develop Florida’s talent pipeline,” said Jamal Sowell, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Enterprise Florida looks forward to working with our partners on this and other initiatives that make Florida a state leader in access to high-quality workforce training.”

The “Florida Workforce Listening Tour” kicks off next week with events scheduled at Atlantic Technical College in Broward County on Oct. 29 followed by one at Manatee Technical College in Manatee County on Oct. 30 and one at Orange Technical College in Orange County on Oct. 31. 

In early November, the tour will hit North Florida with events at Lively Technical College in Leon County on Nov. 4, at Northwest Florida State College in Okaloosa County on Nov. 5 and at Florida State College at Jacksonville in Duval County on Nov. 7. Two webinar events are scheduled for the middle of November. 

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