~Get There Faster: WIOA Governor’s Reserve Funds Budget Improves Workforce and Education Systems Alignment~
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors announced the approval of more than $29 million in investments for training, education and systems alignment to help Floridians embark on career pathways to self-sufficiency and economic prosperity. Governor Ron DeSantis has directed CareerSource Florida to use $7 million of this critical funding for career, training and support services for military veterans and spouses.
“Florida is the most military friendly state in the nation, and I’m proud to say that in Florida we support those who have served this country,” said Governor DeSantis. “Today, I am using my authority as Governor to direct $7 million to help military veterans and their spouses find employment in our state, especially those who are homeless or disabled. We will continue to invest in these heroes and make sure they have every opportunity to succeed in Florida.”
“The investments approved by the CareerSource Florida Board reflect strategic initiatives and priorities directed by Governor DeSantis to strengthen alignment among CareerSource Florida, the state Department of Economic Opportunity and the state Department of Education to help ensure all Floridians can find meaningful work,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “As Florida’s economy continues its robust recovery, we will work together to ensure our neighbors who are still struggling have the education, training and services needed to support themselves and their families.”
The state workforce system’s 2021-2022 budget includes $237.3 million in federal funds for the CareerSource Florida network, consisting of CareerSource Florida, the state Department of Economic Opportunity and 24 local workforce development boards, to assist job seekers and businesses with recruiting, hiring and training services. The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act allows governors to reserve 15 percent of federal funds for innovative projects that enhance opportunities for employment and economic opportunity, particularly for job seekers facing specific challenges to finding work. Allocations were approved last week at the quarterly meeting of the CareerSource Florida Board.
“This funding aligns with Governor DeSantis’ priority of helping Floridians find employment and economic prosperity as many individuals are now returning to the workforce,” said Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Dane Eagle, a member of the CareerSource Florida Board. “We look forward to working with our partners, CareerSource Florida and the Florida Department of Education, to help support fellow Floridians in finding new opportunities and to strengthen our state’s workforce.”
Among other initiatives, the Get There Faster: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Governor’s Reserve Funds include the following competitive grant opportunities:
- $7 million to provide in-demand employment opportunities through career, training and support services to military veterans and spouses of active duty military or veterans with employment challenges such as homelessness or service-related disabilities.
- $5 million to provide low-income adults and youth with training opportunities with a focus on industry-recognized cloud computing or other information technology credentials of value identified by the state Department of Education. Floridians who reside in high poverty Florida zip codes will be prioritized for support to participate in postsecondary degree, training or apprenticeship programs.
- $5 million for at-risk Floridians receiving public assistance, including those recovering from substance use disorder or returning from justice system involvement to receive education and work skills training and assistance in finding employment to achieve self-sufficiency.
- $2 million for rural workforce initiatives that expand access to job seeker services and collaboration between local workforce development boards and state and/or technical colleges, with a focus on the above initiatives.
- $1 million for the Florida Ready to Work Foundational Skills Initiative to provide foundational skills training to Floridians in the target populations above, including low-income, veterans, at-risk youth and others with barriers to employment to improve work readiness and employability.
- $2.5 million for Florida’s Incumbent Worker Training grant program to help upskill existing workers so businesses, especially small businesses, can remain competitive and grow. Proposals that provide employees the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials, enhance nursing skills, are part of a layoff avoidance strategy, and/or are businesses with 25 employees or fewer, and/or are in a rural or distressed inner city areas will be prioritized.
The competitive grant opportunities are aligned with priorities identified in House Bill 1507, the Reimagining Education and Career Help (REACH) Act of 2021, passed by the Florida Legislature and pending action by Governor DeSantis.
The CareerSource Florida Board also heard from President Dennard, DEO Secretary Eagle, Department of Education Senior Chancellor Eric Hall, and Department of Children and Families Deputy Director Taylor Hatch on work underway to improve collaboration, efficiencies and outcomes in the state’s workforce and education systems as envisioned by the REACH Act.
More information on the local funds that will be available to help job seekers, workers and businesses through Florida’s local workforce development boards that oversee service delivery, as well as state board-approved strategic and administrative policies to further strengthen the integrity, transparency and accountability of the state workforce system, can be found in the Board of Directors Meeting Agenda Packet.
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.