HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The Florida Department of Education announced Wednesday that $1.5 million has been awarded to Florida school districts and colleges. The plan is to expand entrepreneurship training for the state’s future workforce by 2030.

“We love to maximize money. We work in the business world and entrepreneurship, so,” said Beth Kerly, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Admin at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). 

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HCC is one of 22 recipients who just learned they were awarded $100,000 to help further students’ education and training on entrepreneurship.

“Nationwide, workforce education is a hot topic! And that’s a really, really big deal because the skills have changed,” Kerly said.

The grant is part of the Florida Department of Education’s plan to help make the state the best in the nation for workforce education by 2030. Kerly analyzed that grant closely to better their chances of being awarded the money.

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“We decided that we would partner with Hillsborough County Schools because it’s a great relationship because students coming out of Hillsborough County Schools may come to HCC,” she explained.

A total of 22 agencies were awarded anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 for each proposal.

“If we can get this entrepreneurial mindset into students, it’s going to make them so employable in the future,” said Kerly “Regardless if they open their own business or not.”

The $1.5 million grant will fund a variety of initiatives and help schools expand business partnerships to connect students with bay area enterprises and venture capitalists. Something education officials say will ultimately support Florida’s economic security.

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“We’re training the teachers to start identifying students who maybe have a new way of doing a job, or maybe they have a new idea for a business that is in relation to the skills that they have,” she said. Professor Kerly tells CW44 that HCC students and staff plan to use the money to focus on local community and education needs, then, like any polished entrepreneur, pitch for a project that would alleviate those particular issues. “Businesses today are looking for problem finders and this is very different than what we’re used to where problem solving skills were so well thought of.”