August 18, 2022
Tallahassee Community College has partnered with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to launch a pilot program focused on workforce education for youth in DJJ facilities. Project Anchor, which will provide career-readiness skills, industry-recognized training and certifications in targeted sectors, and career pathways for youth to seamlessly continue their education at a Florida college or district post-secondary institution, is the first of its kind.
“This program came about because of the vision of Secretary Eric Hall,” said Dr. Jim Murdaugh, president of Tallahassee Community College. “The Department of Juvenile Justice under his leadership is heading in a direction that I believe will be a model for the rest of the country. We are thrilled to be a part of that because TCC is all about second chances. We already do a lot of work with the Florida Department of Corrections and are going to expand that with DJJ. Our goal is to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to change the future direction of their life.”
“We know that individuals with ambition and opportunity can achieve the ‘American Dream,’ and providing Florida’s students served in the juvenile justice system with enhanced educational opportunities is unquestionably the best public safety strategy for Florida,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Eric Hall. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, First Lady DeSantis, and the Florida Legislature, as well as our incredible partners at Tallahassee Community College, the futures of Florida’s most vulnerable students are now being prioritized more than ever before. We’re providing our students with the education and skills they need to be successful in their careers as they begin the new chapter of their lives in becoming great citizens.”
“No one should ever be defined by their worst day. Project Anchor will ensure that at-risk youth seeking a second chance won’t be defined by their worst day,” said Dr. Kimberly Moore, Vice President for Workforce Innovation at TCC. “Project Anchor will provide youth with an opportunity to gain the skills needed for them to compete. Whether their chosen path is to continue to their education or to enter the workforce, they’ll have the tools needed. This is a game changer!”
“Under Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership, Florida is charting a course to be #1 in the nation in workforce education, ensuring all Florida students are prepared for the jobs of the future,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle. “I commend the work that the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is doing in partnership with Tallahassee Community College to launch Project Anchor to connect young Floridians with career readiness services and ultimately meaningful employment in our state.”
“Ensuring all Florida youth have access to career pathways and work readiness skills will provide them a brighter future, as well as help Florida employers have the long-term, sustainable talent pipeline they need to grow and thrive,” said Michelle Dennard, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida. “We look forward to seeing this important partnership improve the lives of so many.”
Project Anchor will deliver workforce education services to DJJ youth in juvenile residential programs throughout Florida. Project Anchor will initially provide workforce training opportunities in three main areas of study at the following programs: construction and manufacturing at Everglades Youth Academy, hospitality and retail management at Walton Academy for Growth and Change, and information technology at Duval Academy. In addition, career navigators will assist youth who have transitioned to the community enroll in a post-secondary option to further their academic careers and place them on a path to a successful career. Each youth entering Project Anchor will be assigned a career navigator and a success coach who will work with the youth’s transitional services manager, to create a success plan which is based on the youth’s current GED/diploma status and their academic and career interests.