State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is briefed on AMskills.
Not every high school student wants to or even needs to go to college, but graduating students without a college degree may have a hard time gaining entry or experience at companies hiring for high paying, high skilled jobs. A local program is trying to bring that experience to graduating students.
Seven years in the making, AMskills was designed to be a German style apprenticeship program where tenth grade students apply to get in, just like applying for a job, and train on the job while earning good money. After graduation, they have experience and sometimes a job waiting for them.
“We’re always looking for a skilled workforce,” Juergen Borsh, general consul for Germany, said. “This is one of the big obstacles when a decision is being made in a German company- where do we want to go and invest?”
Borsch said German businesses in the US want to expand their operations but they can’t find enough workers who have the skills they need.
“I have learned here in Florida, I have been here for two years now, that many companies say we would love to expand,” Borsch said, “We could expand– we need the people, and I hear this in so many different fields.”
Ashley Jean has enrolled in a global studies program at Long Island University. Now she's trying to raise money to help pay for travel costs.
Ashley Jean is graduating from Miami’s iPrep Academy this week. And then she’s planning to travel the world.
Jean will start a global studies program through Long Island University that will eventually take her to places like Costa Rica, Australia, Bali and Spain.
That’s a lot of plane tickets.
“I don’t want money to be a reason why I can’t change my life,” Jean says, “so I have to work hard to do what I can to get this program.”
Like a growing number of college students, Jean is turning to crowdfunding sites to help her raise money for college. The sites let users search by location or topic and donate directly to causes they like.
It’s just a fraction of the total cost of the program – but every bit helps. She says gofundme lets her make the pitch her way.
“I put orange because that’s my favorite color,” she says of her page. “Usually the photo or video it usually enhances — they require you to have a photo because it makes it [easier] for you to get more money and stuff.”
The entrance to Enterprise High School, a charter school in Pinellas County for students at risk for not completing their educations.
Of the more than 600 charter schools in Florida. Some focus on the arts, some on sciences. Others are high schools that help students who are at risk for not finishing or dropping out completely.
At the crossroads of busy four lane highway in Clearwater, students have to make their way through the noise and exhaust of heavy traffic to get to their high school classes.
Tucked in the back of of a strip mall is Enterprise High School. The 5-year-old charter school focuses on just one kind of student, those at risk for not finishing high school at all.
You may have one a lot like it very close by and not even know it.
Donna Hulbert, Director of the school says Enterprise gives its student free bus passes, eliminating one obstacle to getting here on time.
“We are located here, really, for one purpose only. We have four bus stops on the corners of our intersection.”
About 300,000 Florida students attend a for-profit college, which often specialize in training low-skill workers for a new career.
But students often find their degree doesn’t qualify for the career they were seeking, and they graduate withe tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
Vasquez spoke with StateImpact Florida about what he discovered:
Q: Michael, you have spent a year looking at how for-profit colleges, career colleges, operate in Florida. Why don’t you kind of sum up what you’ve found?
A: Sometimes career colleges, which are mostly for-profit, sometimes they do a good job with students. They take students who are typically non-traditional older students. Maybe, if they’re younger, they probably weren’t the best students in high school.
The Florida Council on Economic Education says personal bankruptcies have increased 2200 percent in the last 40 years. That’s one reason why the council is leading a campaign called Require The Money Course.
Bills filed in the Florida House and Senate would require high school students to take a one-semester financial literacy course. But with just three weeks left in the legislative session, the proposals (House bill 29 and Senate bill 92) haven’t been discussed by committees.
Now, there’s another option in the Florida Senate to get the class into high schools if the legislative proposals fail. An alternative is now part of the Senate budget plan for the state starting in July. It would create a required financial literacy pilot project in Broward County schools and a grant program that would enable other districts to participate.
A survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling finds about three-quarters of Americans think they would benefit from professional help with their everyday finances.
Criminology major Justin Buis, a junior at Florida State University, has friends who could use the help.
“They have a certain amount of money for a semester and by the time the semester is halfway through, all their money is gone,” Buis says. “They’re living on gas station food or ramen noodles because they don’t know how to manage their money.
This week, PBS is launching a new documentary series “180 Days.”
One of the films focuses on Hartsville, South Carolina, a rural and poor district which has managed to become one of the highest rating school districts according to South Carolina’s ranking.
Tampa public media station WUSF hosted a town hall meeting at Artz 4 Life Academy in Clearwater last week to screen a portion of the movie and to discuss education issues. Artz 4 Life is an after-school arts and life coaching program.
Big on the mind of those who attended was Florida’s new test, the Florida Standards Assessments. The test is linked to Florida’s new Common Core-based math and language arts standards, which outline what students should know by the end of each grade.
But parents were worried the new test is expected to be tougher, and must be taken on a computer.
“We went from FCAT to FSA and that’s worse than what we were already at,” said mom of three Lisa Hewitt. “We set our students up to fail…If they weren’t doing so well in FCAT why would we develop another test that’s worse?