Opportunity in America, the opportunity to reach the middle class, to have a good job and career and contribute to one’s community, is largely dependent on training and education beyond high school. National estimates suggest that by 2020, 63 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary credential. Currently, 47 percent of Floridians have a degree or high quality certificate. In recognizing the workforce need for a college educated workforce, the Higher Education Coordinating Council has set a postsecondary attainment goal that at least 55 percent of working-age Floridians will have a degree or high quality credential by 2025

There are two important factors to note with regard to increasing educational attainment. First, attainment is directly tied to the state’s talent and workforce needs and is not wholly reliant on higher education completion. Second, and related, the attainment goal is not a higher education goal, but a goal for the state that requires the support and collaboration of business, industry and other partners as we work to ensure that every community continues to thrive.

Why is education attainment important? Because we know that a year after high school, if one does not attend college, his or her earnings are expected to be a little over $8.00 an hour. This equates to approximately $16,000 a year – well below the federal poverty level. As a state, we must work together to improve these outcomes.

The Florida College System institutions are an integral part of the answer to increasing attainment as the colleges provide programs across the state that prepare students to enter the workforce or continue their education. In 2012-13 over 95,000 students graduated from the Florida College System and 89 percent of those students were employed or continuing their education the following year. The average entry-level wage for those graduates was $37,264, about 92 percent higher than the state’s average entry-level wage ($19,457).

The K-12 system serves as a key stakeholder and contributes to career and technical education certifications, including dual enrollment. Dual enrollment, and other acceleration mechanisms provide students with the opportunity to experience challenging coursework. These opportunities foster a college-going culture in the families of those who do not believe that college is an option. 

Every college system institution must be vested in attainment. There are counties in Florida where only 12 percent of adults have an associates degree or higher. It will be increasingly difficult to be competitive on a national or global scale with those levels of attainment. We must continue to move the needle on attainment in partnership with the key stakeholders unique to each of our communities. We will work together to build a statewide culture of increased attainment.

Florida College System: Best Practices on Attainment


Title: Talent Center


The College of Central Florida has strengthened collaborations and partnerships with local businesses and the CareerSource Citrus/Levy/Marion (CLM) to bring about the development of a “Talent Center” in order to maximize opportunities to earn credentials leading to high-skill/high-wage jobs. The Center provides outreach for internships, workshops and job recruitment. Through the establishment of the Guaranteed Graduate Program, CF assures a pool of qualified graduates and offers employers no cost re-training for students in identified competencies for up to one year after graduation. A college-wide local Business Advisory Council was established to focus on specific industries identified through CareerSource CLM, such as Health Care, Information Technology, Transportation and Logistics, Business, and Advance Manufacturing. To date, 23 partnerships have been represented in this process. Since the onset of this initiative, 10 new certificate programs have been implemented which are laddered within existing certificate and/or A.S. degree programs.

Program Contact: 

Dr. Mildred Coyne
Executive Director, Workforce Education & Economic Development
Phone: 954-201-7811
Email: mcoyne@broward.edu


Title: Workforce Programs 


The focus of Workforce Programs is to deliver career education and professional training to develop the current and future workforce of Brevard. Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) requires close working relations with area stakeholders including Brevard Public Schools, the Space Coast Economic Development Commission and CareerSource Brevard, as well as local employers to ensure programs prepare individuals for meaningful employment. When employers or an industry sector identifies a potential need for workforce skills, the college assesses the employment outlook in our local area for those skills through the Florida Targeted Occupations list. Partnerships are formed with the public school system, workforce boards, economic development agencies, and the university system. Short-term training is provided in advanced manufacturing, health sciences, and information technology and an industry advisory committee is assigned. Students work in cohort groups and are offered applied (hands-on) courses to foster success in the academic environment. Over a five year period between 2012 and 2016, EFSC awarded 2,348 AS degrees, 3,193 CCC’s, and 2,730 PSAV’s. The number of AS degrees awarded increased by 9.7 percent and CCC’s 45.3 percent. Upon graduation, 289 graduates became gainfully employed with a mean annual salary of $34,421.

Program Contact: 

Mr. Frank Margiotta, Dean
Workforce Programs
Phone: 321-4 33-7515
Email: margiottaf@easternflorida.edu


Title: Collegiate High School  


Northwest Florida State College operates a public charter high school, the Collegiate High School (CHS), where 90 percent of high school graduates in 2016 simultaneously earned their AA degrees. The school is distinguished by the application of various proven instructional styles. These include a technology-across-the-curriculum approach, student-led conferences, an integrated academic seminar series at each grade level, and a senior graduation requirement capstone project. CHS uses a Student Educational Planning System (STEPS) to develop an individualized educational plan for each student. The plan, including long term and semester goals, is both an ongoing process and a dynamic written document. It ensures that each semester, all students meet regularly with their advisors, who continually monitor their progress. Since opening in the fall of 2000, CHS has consistently ranked in the top 1 percent of Florida public schools. The five year graduation rates of high school diplomas issued from 2011 to 2016 has been consistently at 100 percent.

Program Contact: 

Mr. Anthony Boyer, Principal, Collegiate High School
Phone: 850-729-4949
Email: boyera@nwfsc.edu


Title: Connecting to Employers 


The Connecting to Employers program was established to promote strong and strategic partnerships with Seminole County Public Schools to increase dual enrollment and curriculum alignment and expand the University of Central Florida (UCF) Direct Connect services to increase and improve student transitions. To meet both goals, the Connecting to Employers program began by partnering with UCF and Seminole County Public Schools. Through this partnership, an agreement was established to align curriculum content and standards in Mathematics, Sciences, and English to foster higher course completion rates. As a result, the program was able to enhance Direct Connect (2+2) program with UCF, achieve gains in the number of transfers to UCF, increase the number of minority student transfers, increase the percentage of transfers with GPAs above 3.0, and improve the transfer baccalaureate graduation rates. As a result of the Connecting to Employers program, more than 6,000 students successfully transferred to UCF in the past 5 years. The number of high school students earning dual enrollment credits increased by 115 percent.

Program Contacts: 

Dr. Pamela Mennechey
Associate Vice President for Admissions & Enrollment Services
Phone: 407-708-2380
Email: mennecheyp@seminolestate.edu

Dr. Jan Lloyed
Assoc. Vice President for Student Development
Phone: 407-708-2890
Email: lloydlesley@seminolestate.edu


Title: Student Success Campaign  


The Student Success Campaign (SSC) at St. Johns River State College (SJR State) aims to increase student attainment by re-imagining the overall student experience from enrollment through graduation. The overall SSC goal focuses on increasing fall-to-fall persistence for first-time-in-college (FTIC) students by 10 percent over the next 5 years. The SSC is a college-wide, employee-driven, multi-year effort that cuts across traditional silos. Initiatives aim to improve outreach and student engagement for new & returning students, in and out of the classroom activities(i.e. high school visits, mentoring), key processes for operations, academics and student support (i.e. online orientation, one-stop services, flexible scheduling), student support across academic, financial, work/life & campus services (i.e. tutoring centers, combined scholarship portal, proactive advising), and communication with students and the organization (i.e. Week of Welcome, newsletter, cross-training). In proactive advising, every FTIC student is assigned to an advisor (currently ~2,000 students). In the fall of 2016, advisors were assigned 1178 FTIC students. Of these, 348 students (30 percent) visited with an advisor at least once during the semester, resulting in a total of 489 visits (an average of 1.4 visits/student). Fall-to-fall persistence data will be available in October of 2017 and implementation data for the individual projects are limited at this early stage.

Program Contacts: 

Dr. Gilbert L. Evans, Jr.
VP for Student Affairs/Asst. General Counsel
Phone: 386-312-4127
Email: gilbertevans@sjrstate.edu 

Dr. Rosalind Humerick
VP for Assessment, Research & Technology
Phone: 386-312-4212
Email: rosalindhumerick@sjrstate.edu


Title: Embedded Certificates and Academic Pathways   


In response to a variety of factors (improving retention and completion rates, new rules associated with course compliance, performance funding, etc.) faculty and staff in our Career and Technical Education programs have worked to develop academic pathways outlining what is essentially a guaranteed schedule for the courses necessary to earn the AS degree. As part of that design, where available, the path is structured so that students are able to earn certificates, thus gaining a credential on their way (resulting both in additional completers and increased likelihood that students will reach their ultimate goals). While this project is in the beginning stages of implementation, one major result has been the improved advising that we can offer students (and not just from the individual program managers). One excellent example of success was in our Graphic Design Program. In the fall of 2015, we awarded 12 certificates whereas this last fall we awarded 36 certificates (without a dramatic change in the overall enrollment of the program).

Program Contact: 

Ms. Daisy Vulovich
Dean of Academic Affairs (Lakewood Ranch Campus) and Director of Career and Technical Education
Phone: 941-363-7200
Email: vulovid@scf.edu