Florida Hire Ed

U.S. Department of Labor awards funding to UWF and Chipola College

[Programs will train Northwest Florida residents for high-skill jobs]

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The U.S. Department of Labor awarded funding to the University of West Florida and Chipola College to provide education, training and job placement assistance to meet the demand for high-skill workers in Northwest Florida.

The funding comes as part of the second phase of the H-1B Technical Skills Training Program through the Department of Labor, providing more than $183 million to 43 grantees. UWF is one of only six universities in the United States that received H-1B awards in this cycle. The federal grant funds originate from fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B program.

The project, Florida Hire Ed, allows UWF and Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., to enhance or increase the employment prospects for low-income or under-employed individuals in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Liberty and Calhoun counties in Florida.

Certification training will include programs in information technology and healthcare. Participants will earn industry certificates that represent portable skills recognized by employers nation-wide. UWF and its regional partners will accelerate the pathway to employment for those who successfully complete the program. Graduates can compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs, which will help decrease corporate reliance on workers from other countries.

The occupations and industries in which UWF and Chipola will provide additional training and education are fields in which many employers end up hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas, due to a lack of skilled workers in the U.S. UWF and Chipola College will enhance or add training in the fields of information technology and healthcare.