Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Local News

SFSC gets $1 million for workforce training


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AVON PARK- South Florida State College will use a recently awarded $1 million grant for programs in logistics and cybersecurity.

South Florida State College is one of 11 Florida College System institutions that will receive grant funding through the U.S. Department of Labor to prepare workers in growing industries, states a news release from the college.

The colleges will use the funding to design training programs that students can complete in two years or less.

"The funding will be used to build capacity and infrastructure, leverage distance learning, develop training modules that respond to business and industry needs and expand career pathways tied to high-skill jobs," the news release adds.

SFSC is a member of a seven Florida college consortium that was awarded a total grant of $10,950,000 for Project XCEL-IT to accelerate and improve efforts to deliver workforce training in rural, economically challenged portions of the state. SFSC's $1 million portion of the grant will be allocated over a three-year period. That consortium, led by the College of Central Florida, includes Brevard Community College, Edison State College, North Florida Community College, Palm Beach State College, and St. Johns River State College.

Kevin Brown, dean of the division of applied sciences and technologies, said SFSC will use the grant money for programs in logistics and cybersecurity in tandem with the six other colleges in the consortium.

"This is a great opportunity for SFSC to continue in its efforts to both meet the needs of our communities and bring cutting edge opportunities in education to them," he said. "Our primary focus is to train people for new jobs. The grant money comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and was allocated to help people get new jobs when their existing jobs may have been shipped overseas or lost due to the downturn in the economy."

SFSC will develop a program in logistics that emphasizes handling inventories, such as transportation of inventories and product distribution. "Today, companies want inventory on demand," Brown said. "For instance, Boeing may prefer to have parts for its planes delivered within a particular timeframe rather than having a stockpile of them sitting around their own facility. So, for Boeing's suppliers, it's important to understand accurate vehicle tracking and package tracking."

The college is currently researching where, in its service district of DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties, the logistics program will have the greatest impact.

A cybersecurity program will address reducing the risk of computer security breaches.

The part of the program on forensics for information technology will be embedded within SFSC's criminal justice program. Students would learn the techniques of securing admissible evidence of IT devices, such as those techniques seen on the television show CSI. Another part of the program will be delivered through the college's computer science department.

The logistics and cybersecurity programs will have academic credit components , allowing students to earn associate degrees. The associate degrees can become pathways toward earning bachelor's degrees, the news release adds. Training for non-credit will be available as well. "Someone who is working for a business that needs more secure firewalls on its computer system, for instance, will be able to take a class within the cybersecurity program."

The seven colleges in the consortium will share the responsibility of developing the curriculum and best practices for these programs and will mentor each other on providing them to a population that goes beyond their own service districts. They will provide consistency of information so that every college maintains the same standard of educational experience.

For more information about SFSC and its workforce training programs, visit http://www.southflorida.edu/academic/certificates/ or call 863-453-6661.

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