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Education & Workforce

Florida’s economic competitiveness is based largely on creating and continuing to promote the most skilled workforce in the nation. AIF has been at the forefront of education reform efforts for many years. A world-class workforce is a major component of job creation and creating more jobs in the state has been, and will continue to be, a major focus for AIF and the business community. Improving our workforce through education reforms will be a key ingredient to job creation and ensure businesses continue to establish in Florida.

Early Learning

Early learning is facilitated by a vibrant industry filled with dedicated individuals who recognize its significance in the continuum of education. There is a direct correlation between the quality of early learning programs, third grade reading proficiency, and higher graduation rates - all of which lead to a well-educated workforce. If Florida can enroll more children into quality educational programs at a younger age, our state will see a measurable benefit. AIF SUPPORTS a uniform system of regulation for health and safety standards for all early learning providers accepting taxpayer dollars. A uniform system of regulation should also apply to the allocation of additional resources necessary to support providers that are committed to improving education quality.

Access to Technology and Innovative Learning

To fulfill the promises of virtual and online learning, AIF SUPPORTS removing all barriers for accessing all forms of innovative technology-driven education. Online learning is growing at over 30% per year and is projected to account for 50% of all high school classes by 2020. Our schools must innovate, or they will suffocate. Staying the same means falling behind.


  • Eliminating artificial enrollment caps that prevent access to high-quality virtual and online education opportunities for all students;
  • Allowing open enrollment policies for students to have access to the best and most appropriate individual learning environments regardless of where they live;
  • Removing barriers that inhibit high-performing online schools - both public and private - from expanding;
  • Flexibility in funding for instructional materials and tighter alignment with virtual and blended learning models; and
  • A Digital Learning Initiative to provide infrastructure, bandwidth and mobile devices to equip all Florida students with access to quality, through digital learning opportunities.
Talent Pipeline and Economic Development

Creating the talent pipeline should be a major focus of the Florida Legislature. Promoting the talent pipeline will help ensure the competitiveness of Florida.


  • Creating a comprehensive higher education plan for the state of Florida;
  • Providing institutions with proper incentives that more closely aligns degree programs and baccalaureate production to the needs of Florida’s businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators by closing the talent gap; and
  • Allowing private institutions to compete for state funding for dual enrollment, as current law only allows state universities and colleges to be eligible for state reimbursement per Full Time Enrollment (FTE).

AIF SUPPORTS the smart investment of state resources into the production of baccalaureate degrees to help thousands of Florida residents’ access quality higher education. The legislature should focus state resources toward the development of a skilled workforce for Florida businesses, employers and entrepreneurs. Florida’s nonprofit institutions within the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) produce 22% -25% of all baccalaureate degrees annually in Florida.

AIF SUPPORTS encouraging more state investment into this system by increasing per student funding for the Florida resident Access Grant (FRAG) to $3,500, as it demonstrates one of the strongest returns on investment for the state’s higher education system.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical (STEMM)

Emerging industries are important to Florida’s economy. To continue the building, development and relocation of businesses employing such high-technology workers, we must produce the workforce that fills the needs at every level, from national third-party certifications to undergraduate and graduate degrees.


  • Defining STEMM degrees to include medical professionals seeking high-technology degrees such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, biotechnologists and others. This should result in high-wage salaries for thousands of new entrants into the workforce in these areas.
  • Encouraging the production of workforce in STEMM program degree graduates.
  • Identifying matching grant programs to encourage and incentivize our private institutions of higher education to increase the degree production in STEMM careers - another smart investment by the state.
  • Promoting the employment pathway for non-degree seeking students/employees with national third-party certification attainment, affirming competencies needed for the STEMM industries.

AIF SUPPORTS accountability in higher education and promoting student outcomes. The legislature should:

  • Consider student population and demographics when identifying the appropriate measurement of student outcomes and performance; and
  • Focus on degree production as a critical outcome so that Florida increases the percentage of our population with some form of accredited post-secondary attainments.