Ron DeSantis touts ‘critical’ workforce development plan
Ron DeSantis touted a workforce development plan as 'critical' to Florida's future.

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The goal: 60% of Floridians must have a “high-value postsecondary credential” by 2030.

Terming it “critical” to Florida’s economic future, Gov. Ron DeSantis trumpeted a report released Friday that outlines the forward path of workforce development.

The goal: 60 percent of Floridians must have a “high-value postsecondary credential” by 2030.

“I would like to thank [Chairman Joel] Schleicher and the members of the Florida Talent Development Council for their service and commitment to the development of Florida’s workforce,” said Governor DeSantis Friday. “Ensuring that Floridians are prepared for the jobs in the 21st century is critical to the future success of our great state.”

Among the recommendations: messaging to workers that they should expect continual retraining, and to employers that they are obliged to facilitate that.

The group seeks to align workforce education with demonstrated employer needs. In fields like aerospace, Florida has talent gaps that often can’t be filled in-state.

Workforce readiness: also a priority, and apprenticeships and early career education are among the strategies designed to fill the gaps.

“Cross-sector collaboration and engagement,” a phrase so catchy it should be a song title, is the third area in which the panel seeks improvements.

One strategy to address this gap: “employer-driven training models,” and simulating them in schools. Linking industry needs to programs offered is also expected to drive improvements.

“Data and accountability” are also prioritized. To that end, look for a proposed Florida Workforce Data Advisory
Panel to see how effectively post-secondary programs correlate to industry needs.

“Equity and access,” finally, are to be safeguarded for “underserved populations” and current workers with obsolete skillsets.

The FTDC, a 16-member panel, was enacted in the 2019 Legislative Session. It included a series of familiar names, such as Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education; Bob Ward, President and CEO of the Florida Council of 100; Mark Wilson, President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Rene Plascensia.

The idea was to “bring stakeholders to the table to find an industry-led solution and strategic plan on cultivating the talent needed for Florida’s workforce in the 21st century.”

The work isn’t done, notes the panel’s chair.

“In 2020 and beyond,” Schleicher said, “we will seek constructive ways to bring together students, employees, employers, K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions, along with government to match Florida’s diverse and growing employment base with changing educational and training needs.”

Panel member and Department of Economic Opportunity head Ken Lawson, meanwhile, is “grateful that Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature had the forethought to bring us together and I look forward to implementing the strategies outlined in our plan.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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