Gov. Ron DeSantis is pledging another $89 million for workforce education initiatives in the state to develop “skills in very high demand fields.”
Wednesday morning saw DeSantis at Santa Fe College, where he spotlighted the school’s career and technical programs to illustrate progress in workforce education during his tenure, a focus that started in his 2018 campaign.
The money will be disbursed in a number of different ways.
DeSantis pledged $10 million for state colleges to start career and technical education charter schools to prepare students for the workforce immediately upon high school graduation. Santa Fe and other state colleges — including Tallahassee Community College, Northwest Florida State College, St. Pete College and Miami Dade College — will share that money, DeSantis said.
“So much of the career and technical (education) has moved out of high schools where it used to be a staple,” DeSantis commented.
DeSantis also pledged $26.5 million for dual enrollment in STEM-related programs, $20 million for post-secondary pathways in cybersecurity and IT, $12 million to increase registered apprenticeship programs, and $9 million for “critical workforce needs.” Those needs include training in nursing, logistics and law enforcement to fill regional labor shortages. DeSantis also pledged $12 million in educator resources and “data-driven supports for students and employers.”
DeSantis introduced a student at Santa Fe studying construction and extolled her future even as she did not want to speak.
“You have to really have your head in the sand not to realize that building and construction in Florida is likely something you’re going to be OK in,” DeSantis said, citing a “huge demand for homes.”
DeSantis rehashed previous concerns about “zombie studies” degrees, contrasting that with people who learn electrical trades and very quickly make good incomes.
“We’re excited about what this means for the state,” DeSantis said.
The Governor said the opportunities here weren’t just for high school students, noting the average age of a Santa Fe student is 27.