Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard announced several significant accomplishments by the state’s principal workforce policy and investment board under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership in 2019, including development and implementation of the first statewide Apprenticeship Policy for Florida’s workforce system.
“I am committed to ensuring Floridians have diverse career opportunities and Florida’s businesses have the skilled workforce they need to compete and grow,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Under my administration and with support from the Florida Legislature, $10 million is now being invested to support expansion of apprenticeships and other industry-specific learning opportunities, and CareerSource Florida’s statewide apprenticeship policy ensures our workforce system is aligned with these future-focused priorities.”
“One of Governor DeSantis’ first acts upon taking office was the issuance of Executive Order 19-31, charting a course for Florida to become No. 1 in the nation in workforce education by 2030 and ensuring Florida students are prepared for the jobs of the future,” said President Dennard. “Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order provided a clear direction for our board as we aligned our collaborative work with key partners over the past year to the Governor’s priorities for strengthening workforce education, training and apprenticeship opportunities.”
Accordingly, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors in February unanimously approved the first statewide Apprenticeship Policy for Florida’s workforce system. The new Apprenticeship Policy empowers the CareerSource Florida network of 24 local workforce development boards to identify and implement opportunities for new or expanded apprenticeships in industry sectors important to our state’s economy.
The approval of the statewide Apprenticeship Policy was followed in May with the CareerSource Florida Board’s allocation of $1.75 million in grants to support local workforce development boards’ work with business customers to establish or expand apprenticeships. Within the CareerSource Florida network, at least 20 local workforce development boards are initiating or expanding apprenticeship opportunities with businesses and education or training providers in the counties they serve. There are at least 244 apprentices actively engaged in training in the new apprenticeship programs that have been registered in Florida since the beginning of the year.
CareerSource Florida partnered with Volunteer Florida this spring in the organization’s annual Suits for Session clothing drive. Nearly 6,000 clothing items were donated to CareerSource Gulf Coast, CareerSource Chipola and other organizations in Hurricane Michael-affected areas to assist Floridians seeking to keep or secure employment while dealing with losses from the devastating storm.
Noting the importance of investing in workforce training initiatives that allow our economy to diversify and support 21st Century business needs, Governor DeSantis signed his Bold Vision for a Brighter Future Budget in June, including $9 million for Quick Response Training and $4 million for Incumbent Worker Training.
Quick Response Training is a nationally recognized workforce training grant program, administered by CareerSource Florida, that assists growing businesses with quickly upskilling new hires. In the most recent fiscal year, 18 Florida companies received Quick Response Training grants to train a projected 1,557 employees. CareerSource Florida’s Incumbent Worker Training grant program helps businesses improve the skills of existing full-time employees, thereby increasing productivity and reducing turnover. Now in its 20th year, the program served 141 Florida businesses during the fiscal year that ended in June, resulting in more than 6,300 projected trainees.
As a premier sponsor of the 21st Annual Family Café in June, CareerSource Florida was proud to have several local workforce development boards represented at the event. The collaborative support was backed by Governor DeSantis’ pledge of $900,000 for the on-the-job training and internship program offered through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, another CareerSource Florida partner.
Governor DeSantis and CareerSource Florida showcased the Miami-Dade Youth Pre-Apprenticeship Career and Technical Training Program in June at the ceremony in Miami recognizing the first class of 81 graduates. Participating students complete 300 hours in one of 12 preapprenticeship programs in skilled trades. Students participating in the program have access to a network of resources that provide a pathway to employment.
Governor DeSantis proclaimed September Workforce Development Month in Florida, recognizing workforce professionals, agencies and organizations who help thousands of Floridians find gainful employment. At its quarterly meeting that month, the CareerSource Florida board participated in an action planning session focused on collaboration between the state’s education and workforce systems. Among the main topics was Florida’s new educational attainment goal for at least 60 percent of working age Floridians to have a high-value post-secondary certificate, degree or training experience.
The new state law codifying Florida’s attainment goal also established the Florida Talent Development Council, on which CareerSource Florida serves. CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard chairs the Equity and Access Workgroup, one of five workgroups established by the Council Chair. Nine additional members of the CareerSource Florida professional team are contributing to the recommendations being considered by the five workgroups for inclusion in the Florida Talent Development Council’s new state strategic plan for talent development, due at year’s end.
ABOUT CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA
CareerSource Florida provides oversight and policy direction for talent development programs administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida’s 24 local workforce development boards and their 100 career centers. Together, the CareerSource Florida network connects employers with qualified, skilled talent and Floridians with employment and career development opportunities to achieve economic prosperity. Learn more at careersourceflorida.com.