Northwest Florida State College Awarded Two New Grants to Fund Workforce Training and Education Opportunities

NICEVILLE, Fla. –Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) was awarded two new grants to support students in their pursuit of innovative workforce and career education opportunities that lead to employment in high-demand industries.

The Florida Department of Education awarded the College $116,954 through the Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant to support apprenticeships in Computer Support and Computer Networking. With this grant, NWFSC will work with employers and CareerSource Okaloosa-Walton to make apprenticeship opportunities available to public and external organizations through outreach efforts, job fairs, collaborative partnerships, and web-based activities. Tuition for the apprenticeship programs is paid by the employer, making them free to students.

The new apprenticeship programs are comprised of two major components: the Required Technical Instruction (RTI) and the On-the-Job Training (OJT). The RTI comprises 328 hours of classroom work taken in a computer lab at the College’s Fort Walton Beach Campus. Students will work with faculty members who are appropriately qualified in each of the various RTI classes, which are scheduled over two semesters. The OJT will occur at the apprentices’ respective employer’s job site. Each apprentice will be assigned a mentor who can provide the instruction needed to ensure they achieve the learning objectives set by the employer. The program anticipates at least five apprentices completing each program beginning in 2023.

The Florida Department of Education also granted $2 million through the Early College Career and Technical Education grant to expand the dual enrollment program at NWFSC’s Collegiate High School. The Collegiate High School is a public charter school located on the College’s Niceville campus. The innovative charter school enables 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students to simultaneously earn a standard high-school diploma and a transferable two-year Associate in Arts degree or transferable college credits. As a public school, the Collegiate High School is free to students.

The Early College Career and Technical Education grant will extend Collegiate High School services to 9th-grade students and expand its degree tracks to include an Associate in Science (A.S.) in Computer Information Technology and an Associate in Science (A.S.) in Engineering Technology. These degree tracks will give students the opportunity to earn industry certifications to include CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Solidworks, National Coalition of Certifications Centers NC3, and Manufacturing Skills Standard’s Council’s CPT. Students will also be able to participate in work-learning experiences to include internships within the local industries.

“As the leading provider of high-quality career education and a high-performing Collegiate High School in Northwest Florida, these innovative program initiatives continue to demonstrate the College’s commitment to advance cutting-edge programming that expands career education opportunities for students,” said NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. “Working in partnership with Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education, and Superintendent Marcus Chambers and the Okaloosa County School District, Northwest Florida State College is dedicated to ensuring students complete with the skills, competencies, and industry credentials necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.”

For more information on the apprenticeship programs the College offers or the Collegiate High School, please contact Cristie Kedroski at (850) 729-5210 or [email protected].

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