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HCSD, Pasco-Hernando State College get apprenticeship grants

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The Hernando County School District (HCSD) and the Pasco-Hernando State College (PSHC) have collectively received more than $2 million in Expansion of Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-apprenticeship (ERAP) grant funds to boost registered apprenticeship and/or pre-apprenticeship programs there.

Registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training programs provide opportunities for employers to develop and apply industry standards to training programs that can increase productivity, attract and retain highly qualified employees.

“We are proud to invest in programs that make a difference for students and their employers,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 30 when he announced the grant awards.

Through the ERAP, HCSD will receive $1,173,900 that Hernando schools will use to bring construction trade programs to the Adult Education Department’s Suncoast Technical Education Center (SunTech).

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SunTech will partner with Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) to bring eight construction-based apprenticeship programs to Hernando County, including electrical, plumbing, construction, sheet metal, fire protection, carpentry, craft labor, and roofing. This will be the first time SunTech will offer an apprenticeship program.

HCSD Superintendent John Stratton said that the grant helps fill an urgent industry need in a timely manner.

“Over a year ago, we began to develop a plan to bring these high-demand programs to our adult education school after hearing from the construction industry of their urgent need for workforce-ready tradesmen,” Stratton said. “Our original plan would have taken much longer, with the ERAP funding, we will be able to deliver much sooner.”

Meanwhile, PHSC will receive $956,346 in funds through the grant program.

Students who complete a registered apprenticeship program are accepted by the industry as journey workers and often start their careers by earning on average $52,520 a year, according to the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).

Proposed occupations include electrical, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry, Electrical Vehicle (EV), diesel mechanics, low voltage telecommunications, construction and design, radiology and magnetic resonance imaging, teaching, and culinary, the FDOE said.

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