As the pandemic drags on, Polk County Public Schools is working to boost career opportunities and reduce costs for students in the district’s technical colleges.
At Ridge and Traviss technical colleges, students have been able to enroll in tuition-free programs for high-demand jobs as part of a statewide “rapid credentialing” initiative. The effort seeks to help speed along Florida’s economic recovery by positioning more residents for careers in growing fields.
“The recovery will create jobs that can be filled by unemployed Floridians, but only if they have the essential skills to compete — skills that must be developed in months or weeks,” reads a report by the Florida Department of Education.
The state’s rapid credentialing initiative has been operating with grant funds made available through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Last year, PCPS was able to receive more than $260,000 in grant money and matching funds to bolster its programs at Ridge and Traviss technical colleges.
Specifically, the funds have been used for programs to train patient care technicians, home health aides, nursing assistants and welders. Thus far, about 35 students have been able to access these courses at dramatically reduced costs (no tuition fees).
PCPS still has funding available to support more students interested in pursuing these targeted programs at Ridge and Traviss technical colleges.
“This is a chance for Polk students to improve their career prospects and be part of Florida’s economic recovery,” said Steven Cochran, PCPS’ senior director of workforce education. “PCPS is honored to support our community with these valuable educational opportunities.”
For more information, please contact Ridge Technical College at 863-419-3060, or Traviss Technical College at 863-499-2700.