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PRESS RELEASE

July 31, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn Announces Phase Two of Workforce Education Public Awareness Campaign
Campaign urges people to achieve career goals through Workforce Education programs

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn and Community College and Workforce Education Chancellor David Armstrong today announced the start of Phase Two of the public awareness campaign, "I Always Wanted to . . . " launched in March. The campaign encourages people to consider their career options then directs them to Florida's Workforce Education programs. The second phase of the campaign adds television and radio public service announcements and other elements to the already successful campaign.

"It is never too late for someone to accomplish their dreams of acquiring an education or a new career," said Commissioner Winn. "It is our goal that this campaign will raise awareness that Florida's Workforce Education programs can help make dreams a reality."

The campaign carries out a priority of Commissioner Winn and members of the Florida Legislature to prepare people for success by appealing directly to their needs. Workforce Education provides rigorous academics combined with practical, high-skill education that prepares people for their chosen career path.

"Those who complete Workforce Education programs are proven to earn higher wages and have better job opportunities," said Chancellor Armstrong. "Given our commitment to maintaining the academic rigor and real-world relevance of the programs being offered, more and more business and industry partners are realizing the value of hiring our program completers."

Phase Two of the campaign includes television, radio and print components that spotlight individual Workforce Education program completers who have achieved their career goals. These components also include a broad spectrum of students in specific careers such as nursing, manufacturing, construction and teaching. Some of the ads will appear in Spanish so that non-English speakers can find out how to enroll in Workforce Education programs.

The Department of Education (DOE) partnered with the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association to distribute the public service announcement to the stations in their network. This partnership was made possible by the support of the Florida Lottery. In addition, 54 non-cable television stations, 58 radio stations, and many of the major newspapers are being contacted to expand exposure of the campaign to more markets statewide.

Another element of the campaign that began in Phase One and will continue in Phase Two is the creation of customizable materials, such as billboards and posters, to which community colleges and career centers could add their local contact information and use as part of their own recruitment campaign. Charlotte Technical Center in Port Charlotte was one institution that fully embraced the customizable nature of the campaign.

"We worked closely with the graphic design staff at the DOE to create posters, catalog covers, mouse pads, coffee mugs, notepads and even candy wrappers that utilize the branding of this statewide Workforce Education campaign, but provide local details such as the specific programs we offer and our contact information, so people from our area know exactly how to reach us," said Carolyn Gorton, Coordinator of Postsecondary Programs at Charlotte Technical Center. "We also used these pieces to get the buy-in of the teachers and administrators as we pull together all the elements of our recruitment campaign for the year."

"Participation in the campaign has certainly helped with our enrollments for the fall as well," Gorton explains. "We're looking really good. We are at capacity for our adult education programs and we expect enrollments in our other programs which begin in a few weeks to be up by more than 200 students this year."

Phase One of the campaign has generated interest from the public. The DOE established a hotline and created a special section of its website with information about the specific Workforce Education programs offered at local community colleges or career centers. Since the campaign began in March, hits to the Workforce Education web pages have doubled and the number of calls received through the hotline continues to increase.

"We felt it was critical to the success of this campaign that we offer the public user-friendly web content that would provide them with accurate information about the workforce education programs," said Chancellor Armstrong. "Also, having a hotline they can call and speak with a staff person who will find the answer to their question within 24 hours has proven to be a vital service in getting students into the programs they are interested in more quickly."

Florida's Workforce Education programs provide career and technical education, as well as other educational services, that help people attain those skills that enable them to become or remain economically self-sufficient. The student populations served by the workforce programs include individuals who are entering the workforce for the first time, seeking to upgrade their skills, or retraining to meet the changing demands of the economy. Public Workforce Education programs served more than 823,000 students in 2003-04. These programs, provided by 28 community colleges and 58 of the 67 school districts throughout the state, are overseen by the DOE's office of Workforce and Economic Development.

For more information on the campaign, to download a media kit or to become a business partner, please call the hotline at (800) 406-5555 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or visit the website at http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/