$6.5 Million Awarded to Launch Civics Academies for Students Starting in 9th Grade: ‘A One of a Kind Workforce Program’

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

July 18, 2022 Updated 5:35 PM ET

Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Monroe County (Kristen Livengood).
Gov. Ron DeSantis visits Monroe County (Kristen Livengood).

July 18, 2022 Updated 5:35 P.M. ET

JACKSONVILLE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded a total of $6.5 million to three state colleges to create Civics Academies so students beginning in 9th grade can learn how to prepare for a career as a public servant.

“What we’re doing is really a one of a kind workforce program to help students who may want to be involved in different types of government service,” DeSantis said.

The money will launch the Career Pathways for Public Service Initiative at Polk State College, Broward College, and Florida State College at Jacksonville to prepare students for public service and careers in local or state government.

“A strong civics education is a necessity for those entering civil service,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “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.”

The three state colleges will work in partnership with the Lou Frey Institute, which will serve as the lead curriculum developer for new statewide “Civics Career Academies.” The three colleges will partner with their school districts. More than 1,000 are anticipated to enroll in the 2023-2024 school year.

Courses will include public service leadership, careers and communication, experiential learning, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities with local and state agencies and a research seminar.

“We are excited to expand that work by creating a secondary civic curriculum and accompanied teacher training which will ensure students graduate high school with the knowledge and skills to succeed in both the public sector and in advanced public service career preparation. The value of lifelong civic learning, connecting civic education and engagement to professional development and careers, is critical for advancing civil society,” said The Lou Frey Institute Director Stephen Masyada.

The colleges will work with local municipalities to offer paid internships and pre-apprenticeships for students before they graduate from high school.

Governor DeSantis has made workforce education one of his main education priorities. Since 2019, Florida has invested more than $5 billion into workforce education and expanded access to apprenticeship programs.

“I believe some of the best education is actually being on the job and learning how to train from people that know what they’re doing,” DeSantis said. “So we have over 330,000 career and technical education students enrolled in programs across the state of Florida.”

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