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Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Workforce Education Bill

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will promote career readiness and better opportunities for students and working adults.

CS/HB 7071: Workforce Education, introduced by Representative Amber Mariano and Ralph Massullo in March, ensures alignment between Florida’s education and workforce needs.

Starting July 1, the bill will establish the “Last Mile Scholarship Program,” which will pay for eligible individuals to finish their first associate or baccalaureate degree. It will also establish the “Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program,” which will provide competitive grants to eligible institutions to create or expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“By investing in workforce education and apprenticeship programs, our students will have new opportunities and career paths,” DeSantis said in a statement. “In signing this bill, we are ensuring that Florida continues to build upon its economic momentum and future workforce by investing in the next generation.”

Furthermore, the bill requires that career centers and Florida College System institutions establish regional career pathways guaranteeing college credit toward an aligned associate degree program for eligible students who graduate with a certificate from a career center.

A new initiative will also be launched to increase the percentage of working-age adults who hold a high-value postsecondary certificate, degree, or training experience to 60 percent by the year 2030.

“Each of the educational initiatives in HB 7071 by themselves will enhance our state’s ability to better prepare our students for the jobs of our 21st-century economy,” Massullo said in a statement. “Florida will be number one in workforce readiness by 2030 and our students will have more choice to develop their individual aptitudes and be ready to enter productive careers here in Florida where we will be a magnet for the amazing companies like those here in the space coast who call Florida home.”

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