CareerSource North Central Florida awarded $10 million to grow our STEM workforce

October 16, 2014
CONTACT: Stephanie Gocklin
Director of Communications

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – On October 15, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded a $10-million grant to CareerSource North Central Florida, in partnership with two other CareerSource Florida regions, to help 600 individuals return to work through a new program, STEM Ready. The award is one of 23 totaling nearly $170 million as part of the H-1B Ready to Work Partnership by the DOL, Employment and Training Administration.

STEM Ready is a partnership of three CareerSource Florida boards covering seven Florida counties: Alachua, Bradford, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, Flagler and Volusia. The project includes Extreme Employer Engagement, a new initiative focused on direct coaching, training and mentoring of potential candidates from business leadership operating in STEM industries in occupations related to healthcare, information technology, biotechnology and engineering.

“I’m proud of the region’s tenacity for working with long-term unemployed through work experience programs,” said Tommy McIntosh, CareerSource NCFL board chair. “Whether it’s nuclear chemistry or customer service training for nurses and hospital workers, STEM Ready puts people back to work and gives employers the advantage of hiring highly skilled workers and receiving customized training.”

Applicants will receive an upfront assessment and job placement and training plan, which will determine them as work-ready or provide them additional hiring assistance and/or new occupational skills training.

Participants can also receive paid work assignments with STEM employers to revive their resumes and gain workplace skills. The program also includes a two-week STEM work readiness boot camp to prepare participants for new careers.

Ready to Work Partnership grants are funded by H-1B visa fees which are then used to support training for Americans through high performing partnerships between employers, educators, non-profit organizations and America’s public workforce system that will help provide services and training needed to fill middle and high-skill jobs.

CareerSource NCFL was one of three organizations in the nation to receive a $10-million grant. Additionally, Florida State College at Jacksonville received a Ready to Work Partnership grant of $3 million.

This is the second time CareerSource NCFL has been recognized with one of the largest grants in the nation after the DOL awarded $11.95 million in 2012 for the five-year Startup Quest® entrepreneurship training program in eight Florida workforce regions. Startup Quest® connects teams of qualified participants with successful entrepreneurs to learn how to transform an invention or discovery into a product for the marketplace – giving them the training and skills to become entrepreneurs or bring their new entrepreneurial skills to an existing company as an employee. Halfway through the program, 625 graduates have become employed or self-employed.

This is the third U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to CareerSource North Central Florida since 2011 totaling nearly $27 million. The Healthcare Biomanufacturing Occupational Technology Training (HBOTT) program, funded by a $5-million H-1B grant awarded in 2011, is designed to assist American workers become skilled in healthcare, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and IT occupations in newly created positions. This grant allows employers to hire, train and retain eligible employees in permanent positions by providing reimbursement for up to 90% of salaries to cover on the job training costs. Twenty-five companies have participated, hiring 261 employees to date with one year left in the grant. It is expected that more than 300 new jobs will be grown in local companies through the HBOTT program. The new STEM Ready program will continue to grow hundreds of more jobs.

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