Republican Governor Ron DeSantis will sign legislation into law that will expand access to vocational training and apprenticeships for Floridians.
House Bill 1507 will give $25 million to state colleges for workforce funding and $10 million for apprenticeship grants.
DeSantis is tapping into a growing trend in the United States of college-free career paths in the wake of staggering student loan debt — Americans owe more than $1.71 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44.7 million borrowers, according Lending Tree’s Student Loan Hero website.
“These students are drowning in debt,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Thursday announcing the law at Hillsborough Community College. “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.”
Fox Business reported on the new law:
The bill’s Money-Back Guarantee Program ensures this– each [Farm Credit System) 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.
Florida residents will also get access to an online portal with resources for career planning, finding jobs, and locating vocational education programs.
The new bill is just the latest in a week of legislative action for DeSantis; he has signed 45 bills since Monday. 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.
“It’s about providing people with the tools to get their talents and abilities,” DeSantis said.
Ironically, while President Joe Biden has worked tirelessly to undo all of the policies put in place by former President Donald Trump, the federal website apprenticeship.gov launched in 2019 is still active.
Former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta explained at the time how it would help young career seekers, educators, and employers.
“Apprenticeships are another incredibly important approach,” Acosta said. “You know as we look out there at this economy, I think we need to take a step back and evaluate: What signals do we send to young Americans?”
“Are we saying, ‘You only have one path to success, and all other paths are no good,’ Or are we saying, ‘There are multiple paths?’”
College, Acosta said, could lead to lucrative careers in law or medicine but would most likely result in significant college debt.
“Or you can go be an apprentice carpenter, and you can build on something, and you won’t have student debt, and it won’t take as long, and you’ll also have a good wage,” Acosta said. “Decide what you love and what makes you happy because the goal is a family-sustaining wage.”
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