Florida Governor Rick Scott is appealing to the public for approval of his education program in 2016, which includes greater collaboration between schools and businesses.
Scott’s proposed program, colloquially called “a career in a year,” is a $20 million grant program that would encourage high school technical centers to teach skills Florida employers are seeking and prepare students for the workforce in one year of schooling. Its full name is the Technical Center Rapid Response Grant Program.
At the Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College, Scott, a Republican, said:
We need this $20 million so they can enhance their programs, create new programs. You can see the excitement here, because in less than a year, these students can get a great job.
The program was not controversial when it was originally proposed, but fell by the wayside as the House and Senate clashed over Scott’s frequent vetoes, writes Steve Bousquet of the Miami Herald. According to the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville, it was originally proposed last January, and he plans on including it in the budget for 2016.
At the Mid Florida Technical Center, he stated:
I’m pleased to announce that I will propose $20 million in funding for Florida’s technical centers in my recommended budget. Our technical centers do a great job preparing students for a career in just one year. We know the workers of tomorrow are in our classrooms today, and advanced workforce training at our technical centers will help our students receive the skills they need to be competitive in the global market. It will also attract companies to our state looking for a high-skilled workforce.
…We have about 275,000 job openings in the state right now. If you look at what’s exciting, I think every area of our state is growing. Every type of job is growing.
These technical centers provide career counseling as well as training in skilled occupations, writes News 13, like automotive technology, air conditioning, refrigeration and heating technology, cosmetology, dental and nursing assistance, and welding. Graduates of these schools, according to the Governor, are usually able to get good jobs in their field within a year.
Scott promised to cut taxes by $1 billion over the course of two years, but is not yet halfway there. He plans on setting the record for per-pupil funding in the state’s public schools, and also must deal with other pressures like a serious lack of correctional officers and an under-funded Medicaid program.
Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, is making special needs children a priority in another Florida educational program that is vying for funding for next year. He wants to revive a $250,000 state information clearinghouse, “Bright Expectations,” to help inform families about services.