SCF Rapid Credentials Create Return to Workforce

Guest Correspondence

BY CAROL PROBSTFELD SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY OCT 17, 2020

Florida is opening up and progressing in its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but numerous sectors remain deeply impacted and community members unemployed. To get back to work, many Floridians need to re-skill or up-skill into new professions that will provide them economic security.

The unemployment rates in Manatee and Sarasota Counties are declining, but quantities of workers remain furloughed or unemployed. Others are underemployed or in sectors that remain vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. At the same time, other local industries are growing and seeking trained employees.

The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, has traditionally offered short-term workforce certification and workforce training programs that will prepare those displaced from the workforce for high-skill, high-wage jobs in our community. We partner with local industry to ensure our programs meet their needs and effectively prepare students for their workforce.

To meet the increased need to quickly re-skill workers SCF recently announced the launch of the “Get Credentialed, Get Noticed!” initiative and its award of $496,346 as part of the Florida Department of Education’s Rapid Credentialing Economic Recovery & Prosperity Initiative. These funds were made available through the Governor Emergency Education Relief Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This funding will allow SCF to increase capacity in its rapid-credentialing programs and develop new programs that address specific employee and local workforce needs and includes scholarships of up to $1,000 for 150 students. The program will focus on participants who are either furloughed, unemployed or employed but at risk of losing their job due to automation or disruption of the local economy due to COVID-19. 

SCF’s 16 high-skill, high-wage certificate programs include information technology skills, business operations and entrepreneurship, engineering technology and lean manufacturing, among others.  For more information, visit Programs.SCF.edu/Get Noticed or contact Workforce Education Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Boris, by emailing borisj@SCF.edu, calling 941-363-7200. SCF is offering these courses through face-to-face on-campus courses and online, including our new innovative Go Live with SCF Online program.

SCF will partner with Career Source Suncoast to identify candidates for the rapid credentialing programs and Career Source will provide career services, such as personalized career coaching, essential skills training, screening for other available programs, and placement assistance.

We saw in the recovery from the Great Recession that many types of jobs that were lost did not come back, while others emerged that required new skills but did not require a bachelor’s or advanced degree. This pandemic is also altering how we work, where we work and how we receive and provide services. SCF’s rapid credentialing programs are ideal for providing short-term programs that quickly prepare a student to enter or reenter the workforce. After getting a job, workers can return to SCF for additional certifications that expand their skillset and can eventually add up to a workforce two-year or four-year degree.

The CARES Act grant from the state is critical to providing an increased capacity for rapid credentialing that result in returning our community members to the workforce in a better position than when they left. We hope to build on this momentum and continue at an expanded capacity by requesting a similar amount of funding in the 2021 state budget.

Our philosophy is as simple as A-B-C. First we want you to get “A” job. Then you can return to SCF, earn more certifications and get a “B”etter job. After that, we can help you complete the education and training you need to establish a “C”areer.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

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