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Tallahassee, Fla Governor Ron DeSantis today recognized the exemplary work of CareerSource Florida and the state workforce system in 2020, an extraordinary year of challenges and opportunities.  

“The adaptability and innovation of our neighbors and our business community are accelerating Florida’s recovery, and the CareerSource Florida network is here to help,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “With Governor DeSantis’ leadership, we are working with partners and stakeholders in education, industry, government and more to craft, execute and administer Florida’s roadmap to a robust, growing economy.”

2020 accomplishments include: 

Uninterrupted Assistance by Local Workforce Development Boards

Vitally needed workforce services have been provided without interruption by the CareerSource Florida network to Floridians during the pandemic with the following outcomes:

  • 2,984,878 services were provided by the CareerSource Florida Network virtually, over the phone, via email, by appointment and through Employ Florida to 1,080,369 individuals and employers* 
  • 43,067 job seekers secured employment through the CareerSource Florida Network*
  • 7,826 new participants were enrolled in training through the CareerSource Florida Network*
  • 435,897 business services were provided by the CareerSource Florida Network to 37,189 businesses*
  • 150,242 jobs were posted on Employ Florida

* Data from March 1 – December 17, 2020  

Help is Here

In support of Governor DeSantis’ mobilization of resources to help Floridians and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, CareerSource Florida launched the Help is Here workforce outreach campaign to:

  • Provide an immediate response to connect job seekers and businesses to critical resources needed in the wake of the global pandemic
  • Connect Floridians to the CareerSource Florida network’s local offices for customized, personalized help
  • Develop innovative solutions to generate job recovery and retention and business continuity, driving economic recovery

The campaign received an unprecedented response, including engagement with local and national media outlets, resulting in at least 352,705 web sessions that connected thousands of Floridians with their local workforce development boards and helpful resources.

Virtual Career Fairs

Recognizing the need to adapt business models in the rapidly changing new environment, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors, who serve as the Governor’s principal workforce policy board, provided financial support for a virtual career fair platform for all 24 local workforce development boards. The Premier Virtual online platform, a veteran-owned Florida business, can be used by boards for individual events or in combination with other boards for joint events, leveraging larger customer bases and employers and job seekers who cross county lines.

Several boards have held successful events in the past few months, including tandem events with neighboring boards. The first statewide virtual hiring fair to use the platform was the successful annual Paychecks for Patriots hiring event for military veterans and family members in November.

Paychecks for Patriots

Coordinated by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the CareerSource Florida network and other partners, Paychecks for Patriots career fairs connect veterans and military family members with hundreds of employers throughout the state. This year, for the first time, Paychecks for Patriots hiring fairs were held virtually to allow safe, convenient access statewide. A few counties also held in-person events following safe distancing protocols. Announced by Governor DeSantis, Paychecks for Patriots events were held Nov. 4-19 across the state.

In the prior seven years, more than 6,710 veterans and military family members have participated in Paychecks for Patriots hiring events.

Apprenticeship Expansion

Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis in partnership with the Florida Departments of Education and Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida continues to build upon the state’s momentum to expand apprenticeship opportunities in targeted industry sectors. To date, nearly all local workforce development boards are involved in active or pending registered apprenticeship programs.

In June, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors approved $750,000 in additional funding for work-based learning and apprenticeships. Among other capacity-building strategies, these funds are being used to establish Apprenticeship Navigators within the state workforce system, tasked with raising awareness about and facilitating apprenticeships with education, business and economic development partners.

Additionally, the Apprentice Florida campaign, jointly managed by CareerSource Florida and the Department of Education, continues to drive interested employers and other Floridians to the website, connecting businesses and job seekers to information about this time-tested, earn-and-learn model. Outreach tactics include videos, how-to tutorials for employers, presentations and information for education partners, social media campaigns and paid outreach targeting employers.

Success metrics for the latest phase of paid outreach (launched Sept. 16):

  • 3,336 clicks through to website
  • 2,747 web sessions by interested businesses or potential apprentices
  • 194 employers who requested additional information

Lockheed Martin Apprenticeship Program

Lockheed Martin and CareerSource Florida partnered to develop and refine a unique registered apprenticeship program that has reached significant milestones this year. Lockheed Martin’s Ocala facility became home to the new pilot program with strong support from the local workforce development board, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.

The new two-year apprenticeship program trains electronics associates who will solder circuit cards and wiring harnesses used in aerospace and defense systems. The Ocala program includes 265 new apprentices so far. One of the nation’s largest defense contractors, Lockheed Martin led the development of and will model the new apprenticeship program across its major regional operations in Florida and nationwide.

Workforce Training Grants

An important element of Florida’s economic recovery is ensuring businesses have the resources to hire and train new and existing employees. CareerSource Florida’s training grants are customized, business-driven grant programs that help businesses of all sizes and across many industries grow and compete.

The Quick Response Training grant program, funded by the Governor and Florida Legislature, supports businesses needing to train new hires. Grants were provided to 27 businesses resulting in 4,029 projected trainees for the fiscal year that ended in June.

The federally-funded Incumbent Worker Training grant program helps employers, especially small businesses, stay competitive in the new business environment. At least 4,507 projected employees at 95 businesses received training in this most recent fiscal year.

Study on the Gig Economy’s Impact on Florida

CareerSource Florida released The Study on the Gig Economy and Florida’s Workforce System in January, among the first such reports in the nation by a state workforce board. Governor DeSantis noted in a news release that the emerging gig economy is constantly evolving and transforming how Floridians can make a living. The findings of this study can help inform statewide policy and maximize prosperity for Florida’s workers and businesses.

New Law

In June, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 426, An Act Relating to Economic Development. The new law supports rural economic development and emphasizes the authority of the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors to shape workforce policy in alignment with the Governor’s vision for Florida’s future. Specific to the state workforce system, the new law underscores the responsibility of the business-led state workforce board to drive real-time solutions based on its direct knowledge and deep understanding of business needs and the economic landscape of Florida.


About CareerSource Florida 

CareerSource Florida, with its business-led board of directors, provides 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. The CareerSource Florida State Board serves as the Governor’s principal workforce policy and investment board, working in partnership with DEO, which is responsible for the state workforce system’s fiscal and administrative affairs, and local workforce development boards that serve Florida’s businesses and career seekers. 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