A bill signed into law by Governor DeSantis will establish a new workforce program focused on creating a network of employment resources for students while they are in school.
The bill, HB 1507, aims to create an easier transition for students who do not plan on taking the college route to gain successful careers.
“The bills we’re signing today really doubles down on Florida’s commitment to vocational education, providing people with skills that can then be applied in the real world, and that will be able to provide people with good careers,” DeSantis said during the bill signing Thursday. “You look at things in aircraft maintenance you look at things like welding, all these things, there’s a demand. These are good paying jobs,” he added.
Located within the Governor’s Office, HB 1507 creates the Office of Reimagining Education and Career Help (REACH) Act that will manage all the career resources within Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), Department of Education (DOE), and CareerSource. The Act will also enforce workforce agencies to work with industry leaders to develop a list of qualified skills that correlate with training that meet demands of the workforce.
The list of qualified skills is called the “Master Credentials List.” The List creates and requires the Credentials Review Committee to review credentials presented to the workforce program by specific occupations. These credentials are updated as industry standards are updated, and change based off new credentials that are developed. Having achieved specific credentials on the List, the student is directly guided into a specific career path.
Discussing the Master Credentials List, DeSantis adds a note on tuition reimbursement, “If we’re going to be funding our educational institutions, particularly our state colleges, there needs to be success on the back end of that… Under this bill, all these colleges pick three areas for these credentials, and students go into that program. If they graduate and don’t have job offerings, the student gets the money back. We’re really making sure there’s accountability.”
The budget for the program consists of apprenticeship grants worth $10 million and $25 million towards workforce funds at state colleges. Florida DOE and CareerSource will also be awarding $600,000, distributed through 24 mini-grants, to select apprenticeship programs.
The new law will take effect on July 1.
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]