Tallahassee, FlaThe business, education, economic development and government leaders of the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors took additional steps today to enhance accountability and transparency in Florida’s workforce system 

At its quarterly meeting Feb. 18, board members approved policies to strengthen accountability and governance within Florida’s workforce system in response to recommendations by the U.S. Department of Labor. The board, which serves as the Governor’s chief workforce policy organization, also approved additional measures to provide flexibility in assisting job seekers dealing with specific challenges to gaining employment. Additional details can be found in the board meeting materials.

During the meeting, the board received an update on the progress of a new apprenticeship program among partners including CareerSource Florida, Lockheed Martin, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion and the College of Central Florida. CareerSource Florida provided support in building the apprenticeship program, recruiting potential talent and identifying grant opportunities to defray training costs. Lockheed Martin’s Ocala facility is home to the pilot program, which has strong support from CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, the local workforce development board. The two-year apprenticeship program trains electronics associates who will solder circuit cards and wiring harnesses used in aerospace and defense systems. This week, the training expanded to a dedicated classroom at the College of Central Florida’s Ocala campus, where the apprentices may earn between nine and 12 college credits, which also count toward an Associate in Science degree in engineering technology. The Ocala program includes 265 apprentices so far.

“These apprentices are getting a foothold in a great company with growth potential for their careers,” said Thomas E. “Rusty” Skinner, Jr., CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion CEO. “We are honored Lockheed Martin entrusted us to lay the groundwork for this unprecedented pilot program. And, to other businesses in our state, we encourage you to explore how we can create a custom talent solution for you as well.”

Apprenticeships are among many talent development strategies the CareerSource Florida board is promoting to advance Florida’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Board members also took part in a broader leadership dialogue on talent development’s role in economic recovery. Experts including Jamal Sowell, Florida’s secretary of commerce and president and CEO, Enterprise Florida; Cheryl Kirby, Ph. D., interim CEO, Small Business Development Center Network; Rick Beasley, executive director, CareerSource South Florida; Jeff Ryan, workforce analyst, Division of Workforce Investment, Department of Labor; and Jerry Parrish, Ph.D., chief economist, Florida Chamber Foundation, brought important insights to the discussion around actions needed to support businesses and Floridians in recovering from the economic downturn.

“Our business-led board is hearing from experts that CareerSource Florida’s efforts to strengthen our workforce in targeted industry sectors have never been more important,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “The CareerSource Florida network will continue to emphasize training and education in resilient, in-demand occupations that will help ensure an inclusive economic recovery and support Governor DeSantis’ vision for Florida to be No. 1 in workforce education.”

Annually, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors reviews and considers for approval an updated list of Career and Professional Education (CAPE) industry certifications for middle and high school students. Today the board approved 248 CAPE industry certifications, including 23 new certifications, which the state Department of Education will use to produce a preliminary CAPE list over the next few weeks and finalize after a state Board of Education vote later this year. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified Florida’s CAPE law and program as a promising practice.

The board also received a report out from Brittany Birken, Ph.D., chair of the Strategic Policy and Performance Council, who highlighted the economic outlook presented to the council Wednesday by Jimmy Heckman, an economist with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research. Heckman provided an overview of DEO’s new Florida Insight online economic data tool. 

More information and meeting materials are available at careersourceflorida.com/boardroom.


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 careersourceflorida.com.

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