TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors’ support for Hope Florida through expanded services and enhanced coordination between CareerSource Florida and the Department of Children and Families to help Floridians with barriers to employment get and keep good jobs.

Sometimes the key to entering a promising new career path and maintaining that employment is the support you have, like childcare or transportation. We’re bringing agencies that provide support together to help Floridians in need make strides in the workforce through the Hope Florida initiative,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Dedicated Hope Navigators focused specifically on connecting Floridians with careers and skills training will work with the CareerSource Florida network to help them embark on their pathway to prosperity.”

At this week’s board meeting, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors approved more than $20 million in Governor’s Reserve funding and Wagner-Peyser funds for the new fiscal year through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to expand workforce services and support to Floridians seeking careers. The funding includes new Hope Navigators at each of the state’s local workforce development boards. The Hope Navigators will work directly with Hope Florida participants to find jobs, enroll in training, and launch new career pathways that lead to self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.

 “The CareerSource Florida Board is honored to help expand the Hope Florida initiative championed by First Lady Casey DeSantis,” said CareerSource Florida Board Chair Stephanie Smith. “With Hope Florida, we will further eliminate red tape between state agencies to ensure we are working collaboratively and comprehensively to help Floridians with challenges succeed in the workplace.”

“We are excited about this employment-focused expansion of the transformational Hope Florida initiative created by Florida’s First Lady and we continue to be grateful for her bold vision and unwavering support,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris, who serves on the CareerSource Florida Board. “This new, focused effort will further ensure we are using public resources effectively to help more Floridians and their families achieve economic stability and improve their quality of life.”  

Governor’s Reserve Funds approved by the CareerSource Florida Board will support the following programs in the new fiscal year:

  • $2.5 million for soft skills training — “hit the ground running” services — to immediately serve the Department of Children and Families’ Hope Florida clients in preparation for additional technical skills training for in-demand jobs.
  • $4.3 million for Navigators to provide individualized support in the following areas:
    • Hope Navigators at all local workforce development boards to connect Hope Florida participants with opportunities for employment and training to address their unique needs and skills.
    • Apprenticeship Navigators at all local workforce development boards to help expand apprenticeship opportunities for businesses and job seekers.
    • Military Family Navigators at seven local workforce development boards in communities with military bases to provide priority workforce services to active-duty military spouses and other family members.
  • $2.75 million for a new pilot program to support Floridians in need who pursue careers in nursing and other health fields. The Florida Healthcare Training Initiative includes assistance such as career counseling, academic advising, mentorship programs, transportation assistance, childcare support, and access to affordable healthcare. The goal is to provide innovative, individualized, and allowable wraparound support that enables participants to focus on training and successful attainment of a credential as well as employment.
    • $3 million for Incumbent Worker Training, helping existing businesses upskill employees with a focus on small businesses.
    • $2 million for rural workforce initiatives to support talent development in rural communities.

These dedicated funds to the Hope Florida initiative build on the momentum and outcomes of the innovative Hope Florida initiative, led by the Department of Children and Families, that also includes programs for supporting seniors (Florida Department of Elder Affairs) and at-risk youth and their families (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice) as well as a first-in-the-nation, private-sector partnership that encourages businesses to provide tangible items like mattresses and clothes, along with financial assistance and transportation, to Floridians with short-term unmet needs.

Families in need of services can connect with the program through a number of pathways, including by visiting the Department of Children and Families website or calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).


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.