From Classroom to Career: Workforce Development Initiatives in Southeast Volusia

Tue, Feb 27, 2024 at 9:30AM

From Classroom to Career: Workforce Development Initiatives in Southeast Volusia

Southeast Volusia County is a thriving hub for manufacturing and technology industries. With major employers like Boston Whaler, Dougherty Manufacturing, and dozens more, the area has become a prime destination for skilled workers in these sectors. However, ensuring a steady pipeline of qualified talent is crucial for sustaining economic growth and meeting industry demands. This is where workforce development initiatives play a pivotal role, bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world career opportunities.

The Southeast Volusia Manufacturing and Technology Coalition (SEVMTC) is a member of the Florida Atlantic Workforce Alliance (FAWA) Consortium, and the CareerSource Flagler Voluisa’s Education and Industry Consortium. The relationships, knowledge-sharing channels, and joint programming opportunities opened through these consortium memberships allow SEVMTC to evolve and expand its positive impact in alignment with Florida’s broader workforce agenda.

Workforce Development Programs 

SEVMTC offers a range of workforce development programs designed to cater to diverse needs and career stages. One of their flagship initiatives is the Quick Response Training Program (QRT), which provides customized training to meet the specific skill requirements of local businesses.

Through QRT, companies can access funding and resources to develop targeted training programs for their current or prospective employees. This ensures that workers receive specialized instruction directly relevant to their job functions, enhancing their productivity and job performance.

For existing employees seeking to enhance their skills or transition into new roles, the Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWT) and the Employed Worker Training Program (EWT) offer valuable opportunities. These programs provide funding for training and retraining initiatives, enabling companies to invest in their workforce and foster career advancement.

For those seeking to enter the workforce or transition into new careers, the On-the-Job Training (OJT) program offers a hands-on approach. Through OJT, participants receive a combination of classroom instruction and real-world, paid work experiences. This unique approach allows individuals to learn practical skills while earning a paycheck, facilitating a smoother transition into full-time employment.

Educational Institutions and Their Contributions 

Southeast Volusia is home to several educational institutions that play a pivotal role in workforce development initiatives. Daytona State College, EPIC Flight Academy, and the Southeast Volusia School of Science and Technology are just a few examples of institutions that collaborate closely with SEVMTC to align their programs with industry needs.

A leader among Florida's community colleges, Daytona State College's (DSC) New Smyrna Beach / Edgewater campus brings popular degree programs and specialized training to the heart of Southeast Volusia, offering a comprehensive array of courses that enable students to fulfill most requirements for associate degree programs without needing to travel to the main campus. Notable examples include DSC's Business Operations certificate program, which seamlessly integrates with the college's Associate of Science in Business Administration track, allowing students to easily transfer credits towards their associate degree and providing a clear pathway for academic progression that extends to DSC's Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program. Beyond robust business offerings, the campus has expanded its program portfolio to cater to diverse interests and career aspirations with a wide range of courses in fields such as health, science, computer technology, public service, and occupational studies, ensuring individuals have access to the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in various industries and professions closer to home.

EPIC Flight Academy, a renowned aviation training institution, has also partnered with the SEVMTC to address the growing need for skilled pilots and aviation professionals. Their comprehensive programs cover everything from private pilot training to commercial aviation and aircraft maintenance. By staying attuned to industry trends and fostering strong relationships with local employers, EPIC Flight Academy ensures that their students are equipped with the knowledge and experience to excel in the aviation industry.

Burns Sci Tech offers an innovative curriculum focused on project-based learning and thematic units that engage students in hands-on, real-world experiences. Through their EiSteam Pathways, they integrate entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM subjects, and the arts to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Burns embraces technology in their state-of-the-art classrooms and offers a diverse range of courses from Kindergarten, including Yoga, IT, STEM, and Agricultural Science. They also emphasize the arts through music and self-expression courses. Their robust athletics and extracurricular programs promote teamwork, discipline, healthy lifestyles, and exploration of diverse interests. At Burns Sci Tech, they nurture the whole child in an academically enriching environment, preparing them for a successful future.

NextGen Leaders and Youth Programs 

The NextGen Leaders movement is on a mission to cultivate and empower the next generation of professionals in Southeast Volusia. At its core, the initiative serves as a dynamic platform that facilitates networking, relationship-building, and professional growth for young talent. Through its comprehensive programming, NextGen Leaders encourages participants to forge meaningful connections, fostering a collaborative environment where emerging professionals can exchange ideas, share experiences, and support one another's career development.

Beyond its focus on nurturing professional skills, NextGen Leaders inspires its members to become actively engaged in the local community. The program aims to inspire young professionals to embrace leadership roles and champion initiatives that drive economic development within Southeast Volusia. By fostering a sense of civic responsibility and empowering participants to contribute their talents and perspectives, NextGen Leaders plays a vital role in shaping the region's future.

To ensure the continued success of this initiative, NextGen Leaders actively collaborates with local employers. Companies are encouraged to promote the program among their young professionals, recognizing the value it brings in terms of personal and professional growth, as well as its positive impact on the community. By supporting their employees' participation in NextGen Leaders, businesses not only invest in the development of their workforce but also contribute to the broader goal of attracting and retaining top talent in Southeast Volusia. By nurturing the talents and interests of the younger generation, SEVMTC is ensuring a strong pipeline of skilled professionals for years to come.

The Future of Workforce Development in Southeast Volusia 

As the manufacturing and technology sectors continue to evolve, so too must the workforce development initiatives in Southeast Volusia. SEVMTC remains committed to staying ahead of industry trends and adapting its programs to meet future demands.

Furthermore, SEVMTC is actively pursuing partnerships with new industries and companies looking to establish a foothold in the region. By anticipating and responding to the workforce needs of these emerging sectors, the coalition can position Southeast Volusia as an attractive location for businesses seeking a skilled and adaptable workforce.

Southeast Volusia Manufacturing and Technology Coalition's workforce development initiatives are a testament to the power of collaboration and foresight. By aligning education with industry needs, fostering partnerships, and nurturing talent from the classroom to the workforce, the coalition is paving the way for continued economic growth and prosperity in the region.

As Southeast Volusia continues to thrive as a hub for manufacturing and technology, the community's involvement and engagement with SEVMTC's programs will be instrumental in sustaining this momentum. Together, we can build a skilled and dynamic workforce that drives innovation, competitiveness, and success.


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