FSCJ, other state colleges awarded $6.5M to launch civic academies, Gov. DeSantis announces

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Advanced Technology Center

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a $6.5 million grant to launch civics academies at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Polk State College and Broward College.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a $6.5 million grant to launch civics academies at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Polk State College and Broward College.

DeSantis made the announcement about the Career Pathways for Public Service Initiative at an afternoon news conference held at FSCJ’s Advanced Technology Center on West State Street.

The initiative aims to develop a national model for preparing students for public service and careers in local or state government.

“So what these are going to do, they’re actually going to partner with our local school districts. Students can enter the program as early as ninth grade, and over the course of the next six years from high school to the state college, they will be provided the knowledge base and the tools to potentially have a career in public service,” DeSantis said. “They will be linking students with things like apprenticeships, internships.”

“The preservation of our communities is based on the strength of our collective workforce with solid careers and responsiveness to business and industry and all of our areas,” said FSCJ President John Avendano. “But when bring those two factions together, you get a community that flourishes, you get a community that advances and strengthens as an overall region.”

We asked Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson about the training. The Florida Legislature has been active on education the past few years.

“We’ve continued to push civics into our school systems at younger and younger ages. I think it’s very important. And I think it’s very important to teach civics, what really happened, not what we thought happen or what we imagined happened,” said Simpson.

The three colleges will work in partnership with the Lou Frey Institute, which will serve as the lead curriculum developer for new statewide Civics Career Academies.

These three academies will launch with 1,000 students in August 2023, DeSantis said.

Courses include public service learning, careers and communication, experiential learning, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities and a research seminar.

Monday’s announcement is part of DeSantis’ Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative “to develop civics curriculum and support the implementation of Florida’s revised civics and government standards in K-12 public schools,” the governor’s office said. DeSantis announced the Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative last year, and of the $106 million to establish that initiative, $6.5 million was allocated for the civics career academy program.


About the Authors:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.