Florida Governor Wants Teachers to Have Summer Tech Internships

Gov. Rick Scott hopes that if teachers are willing to commit to the internship program, the state's STEM education will be more competitive and produce better results.

by Andrew Marra, The Palm Beach Post, Fla. / October 20, 2015 0
Florida Governor Rick Scott visiting the Broward Tech school. Office of Governor Rick Scott

(TNS) -- Gov. Rick Scott on Monday renewed his call for lawmakers to create a $1 million statewide program that would pay teachers to spend their summers interning at technology companies.

At the corporate headquarters of Florida Power and Light Co., Scott said that allowing more teachers of science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM subjects, to get real-world experience would help "make Florida competitive for years to come."

"We've got to keep thinking about how we move forward," he said.

The announcement was a glimpse into a sliver of Scott's proposed education budget for the next fiscal year. Scott will unveil his complete education spending plan later this year.

FPL, based in Juno Beach, is a strong financial supporter of the two-term Republican governor's.

Scott proposed the internship program for teachers earlier this year but could not persuade lawmakers to approve it. Monday's event indicates that he will try again during the upcoming legislative session.

Even so, many teachers of STEM subjects in Palm Beach County have developed their mastery of technology subjects by interning at places like FPL and Pratt-Whitney, said Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa, who attended the event.

Scott recognized two county teachers who spent the past summer working as interns at FPL.

Scott also said he would propose an additional $20 million to support the state's technical schools, where students can earn certifications that make them career-ready.

At Monday's event, FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy announced a $20,000 scholarship program to be awarded to a student graduating from high school somewhere in FPL's service area who has good grades and plans to study engineering or information technology.

More students studying STEM subjects "is what will make Florida competitive for years to come," Silagy said.

©2015 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.