A day after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill promoting technical career centers, local leaders are highlighting vocational schools and apprenticeships as a pathway for students after high school. City of Tallahassee Commissioner Curtis Richardson and Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna spoke at the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates monthly meeting.
"Gillum and DeSantis didn’t agree on many things, but this is one area they both agreed on. They cut across party lines. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican they saw the need for increasing workforce development, for having our kids involved and engaged with trade opportunities. So we’re excited about the Governors initiative and the resources it will provide to enhance what we’re already doing," said Hanna.
Commissioner Richardson works as the Public Relations Coordinator for Lively Technical College, the local technical school in Tallahassee.
“What we were trying to do today was talk about Lively as an option for students coming out of high school and others in the community who may lack job training and skills to make them employable," said Richardson.
Richardson says construction jobs have become a focus in the panhandle following Hurricane Michael.
“There are thousands of jobs out there, but we don’t have the skilled workforce to qualify for those jobs. So we want to make sure that people know that lively is there and that we do the training so that people can assume those jobs," said Richardson.
Richardson says some of the school’s graduates can go on to make 6-figures. He says the toughest challenge is getting students’ parents to buy in to not sending their child to a traditional 4-year university after high school rather than a trade school.