JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), through a private donation and in partnership with Duval County Public Schools and a diverse group of local employers, launched Pathways to Work, a program which will utilize innovative, accelerated workforce training strategies to prepare and place students in entry-level high-demand occupations in Construction/Trades, Culinary Arts and Global Logistics industries.

Using existing FSCJ outreach programs at Andrew Jackson and William M. Raines high schools and A. Philip Randolph Career Academies, Pathways to Work identified 60 Duval County high school rising seniors, who are generally at risk for graduation and consequently, have limited opportunity to attain “living wage” employment.

“The hope and goal for this program is to change the lives of each of these students by equipping them with academic and professional training coupled with financial and case management support that will prepare them for immediate employment opportunities in meaningful careers,” said FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau. “This program will work to remove barriers that hinder their opportunity for success and provide resources such as tutoring, financial literacy workshops, career advancement tools and even resources for transportation.”

Students will spend the summer prior to their senior year attending FSCJ for seven weeks from June 12-July 28, completing courses toward their industry certifications as well as employability and soft skills training. Students will be mentored in essential “workforce readiness skills” including professional behavior, workplace punctuality, appropriate dress, communication, teamwork and resourcefulness.

The Pathways to Work learn-and-earn training model will help students transform their lives by earning a postsecondary workforce certificate to access immediate employment on completion of the program and acquire educational credentials along a trajectory toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. Students within the Construction/Trades field will earn industry certification in OSHA 30. In Culinary, students will earn ServSafe and Food Handler industry certifications. In Logistics students will earn industry certifications in Supply Chain Management Principles and Customer Service Operations and have the opportunity to continue taking the entire program online during their senior year. These industry certifications will become stackable credentials toward college workforce certificates and associate degrees.

Additionally, Pathways to Work students will be given the opportunity to complete a four-week paid internship experience through which they will gain professional mentoring, technical abilities and crucial workplace skills. The program will also assist in their continued education toward workforce advancement after initial employment.

The program’s rigorous demands will preclude students from working a traditional summer job. As such, students will receive stipends equivalent to a minimum-wage summer job and continued stipends throughout their senior year.

Pathways to Work will immerse students and their families in a culture of postsecondary preparation and help them see the impactful possibilities for their futures. It will create a culture of parent and family engagement by offering parent workshops at least two to three times each year on topics including Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion, the postsecondary admissions process and conflict resolution within the family.

The first year of this pilot program will be funded by an investment from a private donor.