Florida invests in short term workforce programs


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state of Florida is hoping to stabilize the economy by enhancing the skills of its workforce through technical certification programs. 

The “Get There Florida” campaign was launched to highlight the number of available short-term, high-value technical education programs at the states’ 28 colleges and 48 technical colleges. 

Henry Mack is the chancellor for career, technical, and adult education at the Florida Department of Education. He said their immediate aim is to help those who’ve lost jobs during the pandemic.

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“If we are going to again maintain our economic trajectory,” said Mack, “and if we are going to uplift all residents’ lives, we need to sort of promote the value of a public higher education in the way that this program does.”

The campaign highlights 17 career pathways offered through technical certifications from energy to health science, hospitality and public safety. 

Florida is using $35 million in federal CARES Act funds to help colleges create or expand their program. Mack said those receiving funds will have to submit a progress report to the state Department of Education in January.

With massive shifts in the workforce due to the pandemic, from working remotely to dealing with job loss, employment experts say everyone should take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or enhance their skills. 

Jamie Merisotis is the president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, which promotes access to education beyond high school.

“We need to develop those traits, because it’s how we stay ahead of the machines,” said Merisotis. “And that means education and training are hugely important parts of this equation going forward.”

Merisotis’ new book, “Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines,” explores the kinds of skills graduates need to have in order to succeed in the age of technological automation and artificial intelligence. 

The Get There Florida campaign has identified some 100 certification programs statewide. To sign up, visit gettherefl.com.

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