Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will sign a new law to boost workforce training, he announced during a press conference at Hillsborough Community College Thursday.
The new HB 1507 bill will give $25 million to state colleges for workforce funds and $10 million for apprenticeship grants. This capital will come from the previously earmarked workforce training part of Florida’s 2021-2022 budget.
DeSantis says the move will diversify education opportunities, noting that a 4-year university is not necessarily the best path to success.
"These students are drowning in debt," he said. "But we see kids getting hired out of high school. They do vocational education, don’t go into debt, and they make pretty darn good money."
The bill's Money-Back Guarantee Program ensures this-- each FCS institution and school district must give back the tuition money to students unable to find employment within 6 months of completing their select program.
"We have a lack of accountability, that’s the nature of it," DeSantis stated.
Florida residents will also get access to an online portal with resources for career planning, finding jobs, and locating vocational education programs.
"It’s about providing people with the tools to get their talents and abilities," DeSantis noted.
This is not the only new bill regarding education either. On Tuesday, the Governor signed a controversial bill to teach civics and anti-communism in school, in response to the spreading movement of critical race theory taught in classrooms nationwide.
Vocational training, however, is one of few education-related issues with support from both sides of the political aisle. Both the Obama and Trump administrations passed bills to increase workforce education. This was in part due to a need to fill jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Florida is currently struggling to fill more than 500,000 job openings.
"Students need the ability to make the choice that is best for them," DeSantis said.
"No choice is better than another."