TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, CareerSource Florida and the state Department of Education announced a new registered apprenticeship program in Information Technology at Tallahassee-based Inspired Technologies, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Southeast. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Department of Education Chancellor for Innovation Eric Hall, CareerSource Florida Board Chair Kevin Doyle and President/CEO Michelle Dennard, Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson, Inspired Technologies Founder and Managing Partner Craig Goodson joined other state and local leaders at the company's headquarters.
"Keeping taxes low while prioritizing investments in innovation and talent development, including apprenticeships and other workforce training opportunities, will continue to advance and diversify Florida's economy," said Governor DeSantis. "Apprenticeships like the program at Inspired Technologies help businesses strengthen the skills of their existing and future workforce and allow Floridians to earn while they learn in growing industries."
The tour of Inspired Technologies coincides with the Governor's proclamation of Nov. 11-17 as National Apprenticeship Week, giving Florida's businesses, communities and educators the opportunity to showcase their apprenticeships while providing valuable information to careers seekers. More than 4,500 Florida employers including CVS/Caremark Pharmacy, PGT Windows, Lockheed Martin and The Hartford participate in registered apprenticeships.
"Apprenticeship programs are essential to ensuring every Floridian has a world-class education, and a wide variety of education options in our state," said Commissioner Corcoran, whose department oversees the state's Office of Apprenticeship. "Under Governor DeSantis' leadership, Florida has committed to expanding existing and future workforce opportunities to allow Floridians to earn while they learn in growing industries with the goal of being first in the nation for workforce education by 2030."
Inspired Technologies, an IT solutions provider with both public and private-sector clients, began its registered apprenticeship program this past summer. Apprentices begin as technicians on the company's Support Desk, advancing over two years to a Senior Network Consultant with an annual salary between $60,000 and $100,000 upon successful completion of the program.
"We were facing a critical skills shortage as our business expanded," said Inspired Technologies founder Craig Goodson, who started the company with two people and now has nearly 175 full-time and contract employees. "Working with the Office of Apprenticeship at the Department of Education, CareerSource Capital Region and Lively Technical College, we were able to stand up an apprenticeship program in a matter of weeks and now have several dedicated new employees growing their skills and their paychecks as they advance through our program."
The CareerSource Florida board has allocated $3.5 million over the past two years to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships through partnerships with Florida's 24 local workforce development boards, education and training providers and local businesses. At least 19 boards have one or more apprenticeship programs underway or in progress with businesses in their areas.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every dollar spent on apprenticeship programs, employers receive a return on their investment of $1.50. Of employers surveyed, 97 percent recommend apprenticeship as a training model.
"There is a significant return on investment for businesses that use apprenticeships to recruit and train their own skilled workforce through this time-tested, proven model of work-based learning," said President Dennard. "As the state workforce policy and investment board, CareerSource Florida has been a strong supporter of apprenticeship expansion, which is providing a pathway to middle- and high-skill careers for Floridians in diverse industries that support Florida's growing economy."
Earlier this year, CareerSource Florida launched Apprentice Florida, an outreach campaign in partnership with the Departments of Education and Economic Opportunity that encourages and assists businesses in establishing apprenticeships, especially in nontraditional industries such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, construction, hospitality, and trade and logistics. The initiative also educates Floridians about the many financial and career benefits of apprenticeships.
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