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PRESS RELEASE: Board of Governors awards $15 million in grants to close state workforce gaps
As part of a strategic effort to align university and college degrees with the state’s workforce needs, Florida’s Board of Governors awarded $15 million in grants to four university projects Thursday.
The grants, funded by the Florida Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott, each went to collaborative higher education projects designed to produce more students for careers in high-need areas, from accounting to computer information and technology.
The awards follow more than 18 months of work by The Commission on Florida Higher Education Access and Attainment, a coalition of education, business and legislative leaders that identified the largest gaps between bachelor’s degree production and workforce needs. The effort marks an unprecedented level of collaboration between elected leaders, universities, state colleges and the business community.
“I am focused on creating an opportunity economy for Florida and supporting efforts that create jobs for the next generation. Through this $15 million in grants, I am proud to support our universities’ programs that provide Floridians the knowledge necessary to get careers in high-paying jobs,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “This is exactly why I am working with the Legislature to provide increased funding for our higher education institutions.”
"Providing opportunities for Florida's students to compete in the global economy is critical to our future success as a state," House Speaker Will Weatherford said. "The Florida Legislature was proud to provide support to the Board of Governors in its efforts to link our state universities to our workforce."
“This is just one great example of how our institutions are responding to the job needs of our state,” said immediate past Board of Governors Chair Dean Colson, who launched the Commission. “Florida is a national leader in that regard, as evidenced by the strength of the proposals that won these prestigious awards.”
The Board of Governors awarded the following grants Thursday:
- The University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and Florida International University will receive $4.9 million for An Urban University Coalition Response to Florida Computer Information Technology Workforce Needs.
- The University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and Florida International University will receive a combined $3.6 million for An Innovative and Collaborative Approach to Increasing the Supply of Quality Accounting Graduates in Florida.
- Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University will receive a combined $3 million for Expanding North Florida’s IT Career Pathways.
- Florida Atlantic University, Broward College and Palm Beach State College will receive a combined $3.5 million for a Computer Accelerated Pipeline to Unlock Regional Excellence.
These four projects were selected through a competitive application process that included 12 proposals.
Among other requirements, all grantees must spend the funds by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. They will submit semi-annual reports to document outcomes, including the number of graduates entering the high-demand field.
“Aligning university and college degrees with the state’s workforce needs will help foster a talent supply pipeline focused on Florida’s future,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “This will provide greater opportunities for job creators to successfully compete in a global marketplace, and greater opportunities for Florida job seekers and their families.”
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Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 335,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit www.flbog.edu.