U.S. Department of Labor awards $3.9 million to UWF, Chipola College
Programs will train Northwest Florida residents for high-skill jobs PENSACOLA, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a $3.9 million grant to the University of West Florida and Chipola College to provide education, training and job placement assistance to meet the demand for high-skill workers in Northwest Florida.
Programs will train Northwest Florida residents for high-skill jobs
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a $3.9 million grant to the University of West Florida and Chipola College to provide education, training and job placement assistance to meet the demand for high-skill workers in Northwest Florida.
The funding comes as part of the second phase of the H-1B Technical Skills Training Program through the Department of Labor, providing more than $183 million to 43 grantees. UWF is one of only six universities in the United States that received H-1B awards in this cycle. The federal grant funds originate from fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B program.
The project, Florida HireEd, allows UWF and Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., to enhance or increase the employment prospects for low-income or under-employed individuals in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Liberty and Calhoun counties in Florida.
Certification training will include programs in information technology and healthcare. Participants will earn industry certificates that represent portable skills recognized by employers nation-wide. UWF and its regional partners will accelerate the pathway to employment for those who successfully complete the program. Graduates can compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs, which will help decrease corporate reliance on workers from other countries.
“We identified the gap between the number of high-skill positions available in our region and the lack of skilled workers available to take those positions long ago,” said UWF President Judith Bense. “This grant will allow us to work with our partner institution, Chipola College, to provide the necessary training that will enable our citizens to fill these positions. Employers will get the skilled workers needed, and our Northwest Florida residents will have greater opportunities to earn a good living.”
The occupations and industries in which UWF and Chipola will provide additional training and education are fields in which many employers end up hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas, due to a lack of skilled workers in the U.S. UWF and Chipola College will enhance or add training in the fields of information technology and healthcare.
“We are looking forward to working with UWF, the Washington-Holmes Technical Center and the Chipola Regional Workforce Board as partners in training more students for high-skill, high-wage jobs in technology and health care,” said Chipola College President Gene Prough. “This project comes at the perfect time for the college and the local economy.”
Other partners include UWF Information Technology Academy, Chipola College Health Sciences, Washington Holmes Technical Center, Chipola Regional Workforce Board, the Workforce Board of Okaloosa-Walton County and regional employer partners.
As further specifics of the proposal are finalized, more details will be made available about the new training and certification that will be offered at both UWF and Chipola College.