The Florida Career and Professional Education Act is created to provide a statewide planning partnership between the business and education communities in order to attract, expand, and retain targeted, high-value industry and to sustain a strong, knowledge-based economy. (1) The primary purpose of the Florida Career and Professional Education Act is to:
(a) Improve middle and high school academic performance by providing rigorous and relevant curriculum opportunities;
(b) Provide rigorous and relevant career-themed courses that articulate to postsecondary-level coursework and lead to industry certification;
(c) Support local and regional economic development;
(d) Respond to Florida’s critical workforce needs; and
(e) Provide state residents with access to high-wage and high-demand careers.
(2) Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, each district school board shall develop, in collaboration with local workforce boards and postsecondary institutions approved to operate in the state, a strategic 5-year plan to address and meet local and regional workforce demands. If involvement of the local workforce board in the strategic plan development is not feasible, the local school board, with the approval of the Agency for Workforce Innovation, shall collaborate with the most appropriate local business leadership board. Two or more school districts may collaborate in the development of the strategic plan and offer a career and professional academy as a joint venture. Such plans must describe in detail provisions for efficient transportation of students, maximum use of shared resources, and access to courses through the Florida Virtual School when appropriate. Each strategic plan shall be completed no later than June 30, 2008, and shall include provisions to have in place at least one operational career and professional academy, pursuant to s. 1003.492, no later than the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. (3) The strategic 5-year plan developed jointly between the local school district, local workforce boards, and state-approved postsecondary institutions shall be constructed and based on:
(a) Research conducted to objectively determine local and regional workforce needs for the ensuing 5 years, using labor projections of the United States Department of Labor and the Agency for Workforce Innovation;
(b) Strategies to develop and implement career academies based on those careers determined to be in high demand;
(c) Maximum use of private sector facilities and personnel;
(d) Strategies that ensure instruction by industry-certified faculty and standards and strategies to maintain current industry credentials and for recruiting and retaining faculty to meet those standards;
(e) Alignment to requirements for middle school career exploration and high school redesign;
(f) Provisions to ensure that courses offered through career and professional academies are academically rigorous, meet or exceed appropriate state-adopted subject area standards, result in attainment of industry certification, and, when appropriate, result in postsecondary credit;
(g) Establishment of student eligibility criteria in career and professional academies which include opportunities for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional classrooms but who show aptitude to participate in academies. School boards shall address the analysis of eighth grade student achievement data to provide opportunities for students who may be deemed as potential dropouts to participate in career and professional academies;
(h) Strategies to provide sufficient space within academies to meet workforce needs and to provide access to all interested and qualified students;
(i) Strategies to engage Department of Juvenile Justice students in career and professional academy training that leads to industry certification;
(j) Opportunities for high school students to earn weighted or dual enrollment credit for higher-level career and technical courses;
(k) Promotion of the benefits of the Gold Seal Bright Futures Scholarship;
(l) Strategies to ensure the review of district pupil-progression plans and to amend such plans to include career and professional courses and to include courses that may qualify as substitute courses for core graduation requirements and those that may be counted as elective courses; and
(m) Strategies to provide professional development for secondary guidance counselors on the benefits of career and professional academies.
(4) The State Board of Education shall establish a process for the continual and uninterrupted review of newly proposed core secondary courses and existing courses requested to be considered as core courses to ensure that sufficient rigor and relevance is provided for workforce skills and postsecondary education and aligned to state curriculum standards. The review of newly proposed core secondary courses shall be the responsibility of a curriculum review committee whose membership is approved by the Workforce Florida Board as described in s. 445.004, and shall include:
(a) Three certified high school guidance counselors recommended by the Florida Association of Student Services Administrators.
(b) Three assistant superintendents for curriculum and instruction, recommended by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and who serve in districts that operate successful career and professional academies pursuant to s. 1003.492. Committee members in this category shall employ the expertise of appropriate subject area specialists in the review of proposed courses.
(c) Three workforce representatives recommended by the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
(d) Three admissions directors of postsecondary institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, representing both public and private institutions.
(e) The Deputy Commissioner of Education responsible for K-12 curriculum and instruction. The Deputy Commissioner shall employ the expertise of appropriate subject area specialists in the review of proposed courses.
(5) The submission and review of newly proposed core courses shall be conducted electronically, and each proposed core course shall be approved or denied within 60 days. All courses approved as core courses for high school graduation purposes shall be immediately added to the Course Code Directory. Approved core courses shall also be reviewed and considered for approval for dual enrollment credit. The Board of Governors and the Commissioner of Education shall jointly recommend an annual deadline for approval of new core courses to be included for purposes of postsecondary admissions and dual enrollment credit the following academic year. The State Board of Education shall establish an appeals process in the event that a proposed course is denied which shall require a consensus ruling by the Agency for Workforce Innovation and the Commissioner of Education within 15 days. The curriculum review committee must be established and operational no later than September 1, 2007.