A Senate committee has approved a bill which would change requirements for certain degree programs in Florida, designating some as “high demand.”
The Career and Professional Education Act, known as CAPE, would also require high school students to take a financial literacy course.
The legislation – SB 1076 — is designed to make sure students are prepared to earn a living once their schooling is done.
Robin Warren with the Florida Council on Economic Education is particularly happy the bill requires lessons in money management.
“Student loan debt is now in this country a trillion dollars,” Warren said. “The average debt of students when they get out college is now nearly $30,000, and the average 18- to 24-year-old now uses 30 percent of their income to retire the debt that they’ve accrued.”
Jim Horne, a lobbyist for Associated Industries of Florida, said adding a career preparation component to the system is long overdue.
“We think that in today’s very technical world,” Horne said, “that our students need to have critical thinking skills in almost every occupation.”
He said Florida has thousands of jobs going unfilled because the state isn’t producing enough students with the necessary skills.
Universities could get more money just by offering programs in high demand fields.
Three areas would be designated for university performance funding:
- Computer and information technology
- High-demand programs the Florida Board of Governors will identify.
- Cloud computing and related large data management.
- The State Board of Education to designate multiple pathways for demonstrating the skills required for high school graduation.
- Adult education students to complete a planning exercise called Action Steps to Career Readiness.
- Financial literacy to be included in high school graduation requirements, as part of required credit in economics, and requires an emphasis on entrepreneurship in the career education and planning course in middle school.
- Develop a post-secondary industry certification funding list for school district workforce programs, Florida College System institutions, and state universities.
- Develop a cyber security and digital arts programs for elementary school students, with bonus funding for schools when students complete the programs.
- Develop a Florida Digital Tools Certificate for middle school students with bonus funding for schools when students earn the certificate. The program would teach word processing, spreadsheets and creating multimedia presentations including text, graphics and sound.