Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has announced a $1 million donation to buy more than 1,600 laptops for students to use in rapid credentialing programs to obtain the skills they need to get back to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
FPL’s donation comes on the heels of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education launch of the Get There Florida initiative, in which they raised awareness of rapid credentialing programs.
“Since taking office, workforce development has been a top priority of my administration, and during the pandemic, a lot of students have encountered challenges accessing the technology they need to complete their courses,” said DeSantis.
The programs offer students an opportunity to obtain high-value technical certificates and certifications in industries including advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare and information technology often in 20 weeks or less.
Locally, the donation will cover around 500 laptops at Miami Dade College (MDC). The colleges expect there to be enough laptops for every student who enrolls in the rapid credential programs.
“More than half of our students are low-income and some of them may not have access to essential learning tools, such as a computer and internet. This gift of a free laptop can potentially make a huge impact in their lives and success,” said Miami Dade College Interim President Rolando Montoya. “The hope is that students, upon completion of the program, would then go on and use this laptop as they join the workforce or return to college to continue their education.”
MDC’s Kick-Start Your Career program, which offers unique certificates in high-demand fields, launched this past summer during the pandemic and the college has seen enrollment double.