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HECC Seeks to Increase Number of Floridians With Post-Secondary Educations

August 16th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Two out of three Floridians don’t have a college degree.
A state panel is recommending strategies to raise the number of degree or certificate holders to 55 percent over the next 8 years.
The Higher Education Coordinating Council says to meet their goal of getting more than half of Floridians a degree in higher education the state needs to put more emphasis on two year trade degrees and expand internet access in rural communities.
66% of Floridians don’t have a college degree. To bring that number down, the Chairman of the Higher Education Coordinating Council says the state needs to highlight the value of trade degrees.
“Not everybody needs a college degree, not everybody needs a bachelors degree to achieve their dream. We need all types of folks to make Florida work, whether you’re a welder, an electrician, there’s an amazing type of pride in those types of jobs,” said HECC Chair, Alan Levine.
Board member Al Stimac says encouraging Floridians to pursue trade degrees will also boost Florida’s economy.
“We are actually importing hourly people because we can’t find them in the state of Florida. We have a field now that we can create jobs in Florida, high paying jobs, but we can’t attract industry because we don’t have the skill set,” said Stimac.
HECC also identified poor internet connectivity as a road block to higher education for many Floridans living in rural areas.
“It appears as if the communities that have the lowest level of connectivity also have the lowest levels of educational attainment, whether it’s certificates, or two year degrees, or four year degrees. Having access to online is critical, and not just for education but for the whole economic development of any community,” said board member Dr. Ed Moore.
The Panel wants Legislators to expand internet  infrastructure to get more Floridians online so they can expand their educational opportunities.
There are currently 680,000 Floridians living without broadband access in the state.
As the state makes progress, The Higher Education Coordinating Council is considering pushing for a goal of having six out of ten residents with a degree or certificate.

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