JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $6.5 million to three state colleges in Polk, Duval and Broward counties to help fund workforce programs at a news conference in Jacksonville Monday afternoon.
DeSantis, who spoke at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Advanced Technology Center, said the money would be used to create three civics academies aiming to help students seeking jobs in different branches of government service.
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“They are actually going to partner with their local school districts. Students can enter the program as early as ninth grade... at the state college. They will be provided a knowledge base and the tools to potentially have a career in public service,” DeSantis said.
He added these state college civics academies will link students with relevant apprenticeships and internships.
DeSantis said he’s planning to launch each individual civics academy with 1,000 students in August 2023. Courses at the centers will include public service leadership, careers and communication, experiential learning, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities with local and state agencies and a research seminar.
“The preservation of our society is based on a deep understanding of our civic role in our respective communities,” Dr. John Avendano, FSCJ’s president, said at the news briefing Monday. “A knowledgeable, well-informed and engaged citizenry is vital for our success at all levels and in all communities. And the preservation of our communities is based on the strength of our collective workforce with solid careers and responsiveness.”
Polk State College President Angela Falconetti also spoke after DeSantis’ announcement of the three civics academies.
“Today, we won’t begin. We will continue working tirelessly to be a statewide leader in the career and technical education training initiative for future local and state employees,” Falconetti said.
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. agreed that a civics education was essential for those wanting to pursue civil service.
“By providing a pathway for students to pursue careers in the public sector, Florida is ensuring a smarter, more efficient state and local government for years to come,” Diaz said.
This briefing comes a few days after DeSantis attended Florida’s Teacher of the Year conference, where seventh grade math teacher Melissa Matz from Clay County was picked for the award.
This also comes after the University of Central Florida removed anti-racist statements in alignment with DeSantis’ House Bill 7, known as the “Stop Woke” law, which limits how schools and workplaces address the matter.
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