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August 18, 2005Russell Schweiss
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Lt. Governor Jennings and Education Commissioner Winn Announce SUCCEED Florida Career Education Grants
Commissioner Unveils Plan to Better Prepare Today's Students for the Workforce
FORT LAUDERDALE Lt. Governor Toni Jennings and Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the recipients of the first-ever SUCCEED Florida Career Education Grants at a press conference following the Enterprise Florida Board meeting in Fort Lauderdale. The SUCCEED Florida Grant program, created by the 2005 Florida Legislature, is awarding $21 million in grants to public and private secondary and post-secondary institutions to support new or expanding programs in nursing education and teacher certification, and to plan and implement career academies. With today's announcement, the Department of Education is awarding 17 nursing grants, 27 teaching grants, and 49 career academies grants to institutions throughout the state.
"It couldn't be more appropriate that we are here today at the Enterprise Florida board meeting to announce the first recipients of these grants," said Lt. Governor Jennings. "Career education is important for successful economic development. A highly-qualified, trained workforce attracts and jobs."
Additionally, Commissioner Winn unveiled his new four-point plan to better prepare today's students for tomorrow's workforce. The plan outlines the Department of Education's efforts to expand career academies in high schools, align career education with industry standards and workforce demands, and expand options for students to continue their education and enter the workplace. The Commissioner also highlighted the realignment of Department resources to expand public-private partnerships to build capacity and modernize the image of career education.
"SUCCEED Florida provides an outstanding base to expand Career Academies in high schools to better prepare students with rigorous academics and relevance to a 'career theme' such as life sciences, aviation, or information technology," explained Commissioner Winn. "It is no accident that these are the same areas that Enterprise Florida is targeting for economic development.
The Commissioner also highlighted budget issues approved by the State Board of Education at their meeting on August 16 as part of their legislative budget request, including proposed increases in SUCCEED Florida grant funding and a proposed GED Success Scholarship to assist recipients with transitioning into further career education.
The 2005 Legislature demonstrated its commitment to career education by investing a total of $31 million in building capacity for education programs that meet workforce demands. With the $21 million SUCCEED Florida grants, the Legislature set two priorities to build capacity for the state's most critical workforce needs, $10 million for nursing and $5 million for teaching. Lawmakers also funded $5 million for the expansion of career academies.
Additionally, the Legislature funded $10 million for the Jobs for Florida's Future program. Part of the Florida Chamber of Commerce 2005 Business Agenda, Jobs for Florida's Future was designed to build capacity in a broad array of occupations tied to Enterprise Florida's "targeted sectors" and Workforce Florida's "targeted or high demand occupations."
"Florida is developing an international reputation as a Life-Science hub, from our world-class health care facilities, to our research and development labs, bio technology and life science activity," said Susan Story, Enterprise Florida Chairman and President of Gulf Power Company. "SUCCEED Florida is strategically aligned to meet critical needs, such as the current shortage in skilled nurses, and will identify gaps in other high-tech, knowledge-based sectors."
Joining the Lt. Governor and Commissioner at the event were Representative Dennis Baxley, Community College and Workforce Education Chancellor David Armstrong, Tallahassee Community College President Bill Law, Broward County Superintendent of Schools Frank Till and other officials.
For information on grant recipients, visit http://www.firn.edu/doe/dwdgrants/2005/succeed05.htm.