Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, released the following statement on legislation unanimously passed today by the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives that would strengthen and align the state’s career and technical education programs with regional workforce needs and increase postsecondary degree attainment.

“With unanimous votes in both chambers, the Florida Legislature has spoken with a unified and resounding voice on behalf of students.

“This legislation will ensure students have access to high quality career and technical education courses that are aligned with labor market demands and set them on a path to mid- to high-wage jobs. Aligning and improving Florida’s workforce education programs increases a student’s opportunity for lifelong success and strengthens our state’s economy.

“I commend President Bill Galvano and Speaker Jose Oliva for making workforce education and college degree attainment a priority this legislative session. And, I thank Senators Travis Hutson and Keith Perry and Representatives Amber Mariano, Ralph Massullo and Mel Ponder for championing this important legislation.”

In addition to the critical annual review and alignment of workforce education to eliminate dead-end pathways and creating competitive grants to sponsor pre-apprentice/apprenticeship programs, House Bill 7071 also included several initiatives to increase postsecondary degree attainment.

The legislation creates the SAIL to 60 initiative to increase college degree or certificate attainment to 60 percent of Florida adults by 2030, reverse transfer policy, and the “Last Mile” program, which would cover tuition and fees for individuals who are within 12 or fewer credits of earning their first degree and who were enrolled in an accredited institution within the last 8 years.

House Bill 7071 fulfills many of the priorities outlined in Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order that seeks to make Florida the top state in the nation in workforce education by 2030.