Senators and Business Leaders Discuss Expanding Career and Professional Education Initiatives

Feb 19 • 309 Views • View Comments

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CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229
Britton Alexander, (850) 487-5229


Tallahassee — Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg (R-Lutz) discussed the background and importance of legislation that will expand the current Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE) with a group of more than 30 representatives from Florida’s major businesses and business associations.

During the meeting, Senator Gaetz outlined the creation and implementation of the CAPE Act, which was passed by the Florida Legislature in 2007, creating the first industry certification program in the nation for high school students. In addition, the group discussed current and future partnerships among businesses, industry, educators and policy makers, highlighting the importance of providing graduates with industry-relevant skills and certifications and delineating legislative steps moving forward.

The Senate’s CAPE initiatives strive to lash education to economic opportunity through statewide business and industry partnerships that facilitate new and meaningful opportunities for students. Through the initiatives, students are able to gain industry training and certifications as well as college credits that are increasingly needed to enter Florida’s target industries.

“Through the CAPE programs, industry develops the curriculum, provides or trains the faculty, designs the testing, awards the credentials, and most importantly, industry hires the graduates,” said President Gaetz. “For this reason, continuing to build these programs and collaborate with these businesses is increasingly important as we work to lash our education system to the knowledge-based economy and place our graduates in meaningful jobs.”

The new legislation is expected to be heard in committee during the first week of the 2013 Legislative Session and will provide incentive funding to expand industry certifications into technology centers and colleges, moving the current initiatives beyond K-12 education.

“We hope to integrate more industry-relevant skills into the K-12 curriculum and offer more pathways to high school graduates moving into the next phase of life,” said Senator Legg. “By expanding the CAPE initiatives our students will gain new, meaningful opportunities and certifications that are relevant to our industries. In turn, Florida will be able to sustain a strong economy that attracts, expands and retains targeted, high-value industries.”

Business representatives who attended the meeting included Associated Industries of Florida, Blackboard Learn, Florida Association of Insurance Agents, Florida Council of 100, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Medical Association, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Hayes Computer Systems, Inspired Technologies, L3 Strategies, Manufacturers Association of Florida, Microsoft,, National Federation of Independent Business, Penn Foster Career School,, Templeton Manufacturing Solutions, and Workforce Florida, Inc.

“By working together with our industry and business leaders, we can ensure that the CAPE initiatives stay relevant to Florida’s economic needs,” said Senator Legg. “Gaining a further understanding of the impact of the certifications on their workforces is invaluable in this process.”

During the Senate Education Committee meeting today, a number of business representatives also discussed how the CAPE initiatives will help fill empty positions in companies and connect Florida’s education system to economic needs.

Since its creation, the CAPE Act has generated more than 450 industry certifications, had more than 500,000 participants in 2011 and awarded its 100,000th national industry certification this year.

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