Business One FL College Strives for Better Workforce Recovery

One FL College Strives for Better Workforce Recovery

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As the nation recovers from the recession, a community college in Broward County is taking a different approach to make workforce training available to all.

Broward UP,” which stands for “Unlimited Potential,” makes education accessible by “meeting students where they are,” by holding free classes and workshops at satellite sites in six local ZIP Codes that have the highest unemployment and lowest educational-attainment rates.

Dr. Mildred Coyne, senior vice president for Broward College Workforce Education and Innovation, said they’ve made agreements with communities and agencies to use their facilities.

“Now we’ve created an intergenerational model, where children are seeing their parents in school while they’re at their favorite Boys and Girls Club,” Coyne explained. “And it’s really just creating a continuous loop of understanding that education is for everyone, and it’s a never-ending, generational loop.”

Since 2018, more than 2,600 students have taken the free workshops; 95% are students of color, and most are over age 30. Almost 2,000 of them have gone on to pursue certifications in their career fields.

Isabel Gonzalez, chief of staff and vice president of Communications and Community Relations at Broward College, said a degree isn’t always the end goal in this model of learning.

She argued it’s more important to get people ready for what employers will expect of them.

“There’s just so much talk around dropping education credentials when you’re hiring and those kinds of trends, but you still need to demonstrate those skills,” Gonzalez contended.

Bridging the digital divide for students is another part of helping them compete for higher-wage jobs.

Coyne noted in Broward County, high-wage jobs are growing, while low- and middle-wage jobs are on the decline. “Broward UP” is a way for students to increase their economic mobility.

“Just moving people up from the bottom, up one rung, isn’t enough,” Coyne asserted. “It’s not a resilient enough wage, and we saw that really play itself out through the pandemic, and the disproportionate impact that the pandemic and the economic downturn had on our communities of poverty.”

She thinks the Broward College model could work at other schools, by building strong community partnerships.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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A medida que la nacion se recupera de la recesion, un colegio comunitario en el condado de Broward esta adoptando un enfoque diferente para hacer que la capacitacion de la fuerza laboral este disponible para todos.

“Broward UP”, que significa “Potencial ilimitado,” pretende que la educacion sea accesible al “encontrarse con los estudiantes donde estan.” Esto significa llevar a cabo clases y talleres gratuitos en sitios satelites en seis codigos postales locales que tienen las tasas de desempleo mas altas y las tasas de logros educativos mas bajas.

Dr. Mildred Coyne de Educacion e Innovacion de la Fuerza Laboral Universitaria de Broward, dice que han hecho acuerdos con comunidades y agencias para usar sus instalaciones.

“Ahora hemos creado un modelo intergeneracional, en el que los ninos ven a sus padres en la escuela mientras estan en su club favorito para ninos y ninas,” Coyne explica “Y en realidad se trata de crear una comprension de que la educacion es para todos y es un ciclo generacional interminable.”

Desde 2018, mas de 2,600 estudiantes han realizado los talleres gratuitos; El 95 por ciento son estudiantes de color y la mayoria tiene mas de 30 anos. Casi dos mil de ellos han obtenido certificaciones en sus campos profesionales.

Isabel Gonzalez, quien dirige Comunicaciones y Relaciones Comunitarias en Broward College, dice que un titulo no siempre es el objetivo final en este modelo de aprendizaje.

Ella dice que es mas importante preparar a la gente para lo que los empleadores esperan de ellos.

“Se habla mucho sobre la eliminacion de las credenciales de educacion cuando se esta contratando y ese tipo de tendencias, pero aun asi se necesita demostrar esas habilidades,”, dijo Gonzalez.

Anade que el superar la brecha digital es para los estudiantes otra parte de ayudarlos a competir por trabajos con salarios mas altos.

Coyne senala que en el condado de Broward, los trabajos con salarios altos estan creciendo mientras que los trabajos con salarios bajos y medios estan en declive. “Broward UP” es una forma para que los estudiantes aumenten su movilidad economica.

“Mover a la gente desde abajo, tan solo un escalon, no es suficiente,” resalta Coyne. “No es un salario lo suficientemente resistente, vemos que el impacto desproporcionado que se desarrollo durante pandemia y la recesion economica llevaron a nuestras comunidades a la pobreza.”

Ella piensa que el modelo de Broward College tambien podria funcionar en otras escuelas si se construyeran solidas alianzas comunitarias.

El apoyo para este reportaje fue aportado por la Fundacion Lumina.

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