AVON PARK, Fla. — Aug. 24, 2020 — South Florida State College (SFSC) has been awarded special funding through Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Emergency Education Relief (GEER) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Rapid Credentialing, to assist in educational training for residents who are unemployed, underemployed, or furloughed.

Governor DeSantis allocated a total of $35 million to support Florida College System (FCS) institutions, such as SFSC, and district postsecondary technical centers in their ability to enroll and complete students in short-term, in-demand workforce/career and technical education (CTE) credentialing and certificate programs.

SFSC has been awarded $292,096 with the requirement of an additional 25% through matching funds for a total of $365,120. Matching dollars will come through the CARES Act Institutional funding ($23,472) and Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2016 (Perkins V) funding ($60,414). The Rapid Credentialing funds must be used by the end of May 2021.

“During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and time of economic uncertainty, we are delighted to be able to enhance our program offerings and focus on helping individuals in our communities earn a short-term certificate or credential,” said Erik Christensen, SFSC dean of applied sciences and technologies. “As always, our goal is to help people get a job, keep a job, or be promoted in a job, and this grant is helping us do just that.”

Funds are focused on providing those unemployed, underemployed, or furloughed with training in an in-demand area of the regional workforce board. Funds will be used to purchase necessary equipment and underwrite costs associated with administering in-demand, non-credit industry certification preparation, clock hour career certificate programs, as well as for-credit, short-term CTE courses/programs. SFSC will use the funds to purchase equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), recruiting, software, and instructor salaries to enhance the student learning experience.

The Rapid Credentialing funds will support SFSC students enrolled in these programs and courses: College Credit Certificates in Automation, CNC Machinist/Fabricator, Engineering Technology Support Specialist, Lean Manufacturing, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Landscape & Horticulture Professional; Career Certificates in Firefighter I or Firefighter II, Automotive Service Technology, Correctional Officer, and Phlebotomy; Non-credit Continuing Workforce Education (CWE) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate in Carpentry/Roofing as well as Electrical, Nursing Assistant, Real Estate, Welding, and the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Class A and B.

Scholarships toward these programs may be available through CareerSource Heartland. To learn more, visit CareerSource Heartland’s website at careersourceheartland.com or call one of the local CareerSource Heartland Career Centers: in DeSoto County at 863-993-1008, in Hardee County at 863-773-3474, in Highlands County at 863-385-3672, or in Okeechobee County at 863-610-6000.