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Governor announces $89 million in Workforce Education Initiatives, discusses Patient’s Bill of Rights in Santa Fe College press conference

Press release from the Office of Governor DeSantis with additional reporting by Jennifer Cabrera

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $89 million in funding for workforce education initiatives, including a first-of-its-kind Career and Technical Education (CTE) charter schools initiative. Governor DeSantis made the announcement at Santa Fe College, which was awarded funding to create a charter school that will allow high school students to earn credentials and college credit while in high school. Funding awarded today also includes high school CTE dual enrollment programs, apprenticeships, and cybersecurity and IT training. 

In 2019, Governor DeSantis set the goal of making Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030, and with today’s announcement, Florida has invested over $3.5 billion to expand workforce education and training programs in the state since 2019. For more information about today’s announcement, click here.

Today’s announcement of $89 million includes: 

  • $26.5 million for expansion of CTE dual enrollment in STEM-related programs; 
  • $20 million to accelerate cybersecurity and IT postsecondary pathways;
  • $12 million to increase the accessibility of registered apprenticeship programs with a focus on small and hard-to-reach businesses and skilled trades pathways;
  • $10 million for colleges to create CTE charter schools;
  • $9 million for development of critical workforce need pathways, such as nursing, critical health care programs, law enforcement, supply chain professions, teaching, and emergency management;
  • $2 million for entrepreneurship; and
  • $12 million in educator resources and data-drive support for students and employers.
Erik Worthmann

Erik Worthmann from Comfort Temp Heating & Air spoke about students making $35,000-40,000/year in apprenticeships, increasing to $65,000-75,000/year a year after they graduate, “and that’s just the start of their journey in the trades, and their career goes up from there. It’s amazing that we have a governor that understands our need for trade and the skills that we need for improving our economy and construction and the trades.”

Dr. Paul Broadie II

Dr. Paul Broadie II, President of Santa Fe College, called attention to the numerous CTE programs at the college, stating that many of them have 100% job placement rates after graduation: “That’s a commitment from this college to make sure that we’re giving people opportunities for social and economic mobility, the opportunity to realize a sustainable, healthy life.” Broadie said he was excited about Santa Fe College’s new charter school, which will be based on a national model: “It’s a proven model that we will bring here, where we’re working to get that student their high school diploma, their associate’s degree, and a minimum of two industry certifications, so that student can decide whether they want to go into the workforce, or if they want to continue their education.”

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SF student Bess Granholm

Following the announcement, Governor DeSantis took questions, and Nanette Holt of Epoch Times asked about tweets from the governor and his wife, Casey DeSantis, regarding proposed legislation that would allow families to be with their loved ones who are hospitalized.

DeSantis responded that he expects to see a package develop over the next few weeks: “COVID cannot be used as an excuse to deny patients’ basic rights. And one of the rights, I think, of being a patient is that you have your loved ones present when you’re dealing with these serious medical issues. And it’s not just end of life, I mean, that obviously is important. But people are going into the hospital for really significant things, and they don’t have access to their loved ones. So we’re going to have some type of Patient’s Bill of Rights… and also, in nursing homes, too.”

We asked the governor about a recent case in which a patient died at a hospital in Jacksonville after losing a legal battle to bring in an outside doctor to prescribe Ivermectin off-label. We asked if he was pushing the legislature to expand “right-to-try” laws to include FDA-approved drugs.

The governor answered, “Yes–honestly, that should be the law anyway,… these are drugs that are approved, they’re safe for consumption, how effective are they against COVID? You know, some of them have not been through enough trials, whatever. Some physicians think that it could be helpful. You have a right to try, especially for people that are in serious situations… I believe in the principle of right-to-try… and our Surgeon General said this too: It’s totally inappropriate to crack down on a physician for practicing medicine.

“Using drugs off-label is something that’s been done for years and years and years, and they need to have an ability to do that, and patients need to have the ability to access that.” DeSantis noted that several approved treatments for COVID-19, including Remdesivir and molnupiravir, have very weak evidence: “You look at the data on Remdesivir for hospitalized patients, I cannot find any benefit from Remdesivir… you do have evidence, unfortunately, of how you can have some really serious side effects from that. You also look at the new Merck drug that they did, they did not do very thorough clinical trials on that.

“And so all that just being said… let’s let people make these decisions for themselves… Let’s let physicians sort that out. Let patients have that conversation with their doctor. And so yeah, I think the legislature can do it, I don’t think physicians should be penalized if they want to offer treatments that are FDA-approved.”

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