Six colleges will receive a total of $2.3 million in funding for workforce credentialing and education programs in an effort to create jobs and grow Florida’s economy.
Funding will help those applying for Commercial Driver’s License and Logistics training and those seeking nursing degrees to more quickly enter the workforce and, eventually, offset worker shortages.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that six colleges have been awarded the funding, including the Hardee Campus of South Florida State College, where he made the announcement Thursday.
“Workforce education provides a pathway for Floridians to succeed, but also helps alleviate the damage being wrought by inflation and supply chain interruptions,” DeSantis said. “We are facing supply chain shortages caused by bad federal policies and a lack of investment in workers across our country. In Florida, we are stepping up by providing support to skilled trades that are essential for a strong economy.”
The funding will help state and technical colleges expand their enrollment capacity to eventually enable graduates to land well-paying jobs. Class A and B CDLs remain in high demand and can lead to mid-level family sustaining wages, as can critical entry-level health-care occupations, the governor’s office says.
Funding is made possible through an Emergency Education Relief (GEER) program designed to support rapid training programs that last between 6 and 16 weeks to help workers obtain CDL, logistics and health-care training and licensing. It’s expected to benefit 1,200 students by May, and 2,000 students by August.
Last year, $50 million was allocated to short-term workforce training programs, which enabled institutions like South Florida State College to increase its enrollment and access to its workforce training programs. As a result, from 2020 to 2021, Florida College System students completed nearly 38,000 rapid credentials, a 7% increase from 2018-2019.
Since roughly March 2020, Florida colleges have received $35 million in GEER funds, which led to more than 18,000 short-term certifications being issued in about a year. Additionally, the number of CTE program graduates increased to over 63,000 since 2019.
Four schools received funding to expand for CDL training: the State College of Florida ($930,000), Manatee Technical College for Logistics ($550,000), South Florida State College ($415,000), and North Florida Technical College ($100,000).
Florida Gateway College received $135,000 for Licensed Practical Nursing training and College of Florida Keys received $150,000 for Licensed Practical Nursing and Surgical Technology training.