CareerSource Florida Debuts Digital Tool to Help Floridians Returning to Work, Upskilling and Elevating their Career Path
Tallahassee, FL – As Florida’s economy continues to grow, CareerSource Florida is unveiling a new tool to help Floridians who are returning to work or upskilling navigate changes to their public assistance resulting from wage growth, ultimately planning wisely for their family’s exit from public assistance. The new tool – the Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster, or CLIFF Dashboard – uses personalized data to create a financial forecast and well of long-term wage growth.
For Floridians receiving public assistance, taking a job with higher wages and the possibility of reduced benefits can create stress for a family. As CareerSource Florida’s mission includes helping Floridians achieve self-sufficiency through wraparound services, education and training, resulting in higher wages over time, it is imperative that career counselors guide Floridians beyond the short-term hurdles of changes to benefits.
“This tool will further our mission to connect businesses with the trained talent they need to thrive and assist Floridians in connecting with rewarding careers that offer brighter futures,” said Michelle Dennard, CareerSource Florida President and CEO. “The CareerSource Florida network and other agencies serving at-risk populations will be able to use the CLIFF Dashboard to demonstrate the value of training and education in in-demand occupations throughout the state, and further Florida workforce agencies’ collective efforts to implement the Reimagining Education and Career Help (REACH) Act.”
Florida employers have added jobs for 23 consecutive months since May 2020, and Florida’s private-sector job growth has exceeded the nation’s for 12 consecutive months. Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for 16 consecutive months. With this level of economic vitality, more Floridians are finding high-paying jobs and are able to pursue career training opportunities. However, returning to work and workforce education can still be daunting for some families who are carefully managing limited finances.
The CLIFF Dashboard was created in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to help address these challenges, and CareerSource Florida is one of only two state workforce boards in the nation leading such pilot projects. Florida’s project is unique in that the pilot targets a wide variety of customers across different programs and diverse areas of the state, and in its implementation of a technology solution to track performance.
“Social service programs and individual family dynamics can be complex, making it challenging for low-income working families to move toward economic self-sufficiency,” said Brittany Birken, Ph.D., a member of the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors and principal advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “In addition to helping individuals, the new CLIFF Dashboard can help state and local policymakers identify solutions, coordinate responses and programs, and share meaningful findings across national, state and local networks that facilitate system changes.”
Dr. Birken, CareerSource Florida Vice President of Strategic Policy & Performance Dan McGrew, and Brian Bauer, President and CEO of CareerSource Research Coast, were selected to present an overview and demonstration of the new online planning tool at The Forum, an annual national convening of workforce development leaders.
Nine local workforce development boards, in a mix of rural and urban areas around the state, are participated in the pilot, using the CLIFF Dashboard with customers from January through April. While the dashboard remains open for use, the anonymized data heads to the Anita Zucker Center at University of Florida for research and analysis.
The pilot program is already having an impact. At CareerSource Research Coast, one of the pilot sites, a Pathways to Prosperity grant from CareerSource Florida and the state Department of Economic Opportunity was used to cover costs of the final semester for a mother of two who wanted to complete her associate degree in nursing. She had not been formally employed in nearly a decade.
“After training, her salary increased and she was no longer eligible to receive subsidized childcare, but we were able to use grant funds to put her on a three-year childcare payment phase-out plan,” said Brian Bauer, President and CEO of CareerSource Research Coast, which assists job seekers and businesses in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. “This assistance helped her fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a registered nurse and also brought another much-needed healthcare worker into our community.”
Other local workforce development boards participating in the pilot are:
- CareerSource Capital Region
- CareerSource North Florida
- CareerSource Northeast Florida
- CareerSource North Central Florida
- CareerSource Flagler Volusia
- CareerSource Central Florida
- CareerSource Suncoast
- CareerSource South Florida
The development and launch of the Florida CLIFF Dashboard align with tenets of the state’s landmark REACH Act – which positions Florida to help people with barriers to education and employment become self-sufficient through enhanced access to good jobs and career pathways that offer economic opportunity.