When working with site selectors looking to bring jobs to our region, we realize that major factors for consideration are location and a competitive incentive package, but increasingly, it is also finding the right workforce. While we are proud of the growing talent base in Northeast Florida, we would also benefit from having more of our workforce holding in-demand certificates, two-year or four-year degrees.
After one year of collaboration, Earn Up is making strides in achieving its goal of having 60 percent of adults with training certificates or college degrees by 2025. The region has moved from 36 percent postsecondary attainment to 38 percent this past year. This increase represents more than 10,000 new degrees and certificates.
Earn Up launched as an initiative of JAXUSA Partnership this past December with the support of our region’s education leaders and with funding from Lumina Foundation, CareerSource Northeast Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville and the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. After analyzing the landscape, we identified three target populations upon which to focus: high school students transitioning to college, adult learners and veterans. Take a look at a brief video that explains Earn Up.
For high school students, we’ve created a texting platform to help remind them of upcoming financial aid and enrollment dates at their selected (local) college. Our veterans benefit from the formation of a new network of college administrators and military base personnel who are convening to address common barriers for our military veterans.
Working adults, who may have some college credit but no degree of certification, may need workplace support or flexibility to be successful in balancing demands of work and family. We are beginning conversations now with employers and these workers to help more return to school and finish their degree.
Earn Up is one of many initiatives in Northeast Florida that’s become a driving force in ensuring students have the tools and resources to enter the workforce and achieve success in the real world.