United Way of Broward County
2014 Legislative Agenda
Workforce Development and Job Readiness
United Way of Broward County calls on the Florida Legislature to maximize funding for workforce development programs.
According to the US Census Bureau, more than 17% of Florida’s 19.3 million residents live below the poverty line. More than 27% of jobs in Florida are low wage jobs that provide income far below the median income of $48,000 and insufficient to adequately support a family.
For the past few decades, Florida enjoyed rapid economic expansion fueled by population growth in construction and real estate. As Florida emerges from the 2008 global recession, the trajectory of future growth must be different. Florida must move to more knowledge and innovation-based economy, and increase its economic diversification. New technologies and market opportunities must be leveraged to help the foundational clusters of manufacturing, green energy, financial services, marine, space and tourism expand and transform. Florida must pursue immediate opportunities to develop new clusters, such as global logistics and creative industries. A study commissioned by the Florida Chamber Foundation said Florida has a once in a generation opportunity to transform the state’s economy into a global hub for trade, logistics and manufacturing exports, with the potential to create 150,000 new trade and logistics jobs over the next five years.
To drive the talent supply chain to meet industry demands at all skill levels, Florida must invest in a world class K-12 education system, with more focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and provide alternate paths for students of all ages to receive industry and technical certifications to move more quickly into the skilled workforce.
MAXIMIZE funding for all job training programs, including Florida’s Quick Response Training Grants (QRT).
PRIORITIZE education policies and funding to ensure Florida has world class education system and seamless talent supply chain with particular focus on STEM.
PROMOTE policies to diversify Florida’s industry mix by focusing on higher value-added, innovation-driven growth.
PROMOTE collaboration with business and industry, school districts, Florida colleges, Universities, community-based organizations and correctional institutions that support workforce education.
In 2012 the State spent $5.9 million in QRT grants to support the creation of 3,990 new jobs and provide skills upgrade training for 4,888 existing full time employees. On average, trainees wages increased by 47%.
In 2013 Florida spent $18.3 billion in funding for K-12 Funding representing $6,779 per student or a 6.34% increase over 2012. Funding levels for Florida K-12 still remain 3.9% below 2008 funding levels.
Funding for Florida’s College System was increased by $5M for industry certifications, and the State University System was budgeted $50M in performance funding based on metrics to measure a university’s success in helping students obtain high paying job