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CTE to Success: Single Mom’s Path to Electrical Engineering 

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Twelve years ago, Larsha Johnson found herself navigating single parenthood while juggling a job she describes as “mediocre.” At the same time, she was having to take on various temporary jobs.  

However, everything changed when her 11-year-old son, Noah, expressed interest in attending a robotics camp. This moment sparked a memory for Larsha and the excitement she had as a young child tinkering with electronics. At 31 and inspired by her son, Johnson enrolled in a two-year Career and Technical Education (CTE) program and earned her Associate’s Degree in computer engineering technology.  

“I was always working two jobs trying to figure it out. I realized that I needed a single, stable career path to truly thrive,” Johnson said. Encouraged by a supportive professor, she went to work full-time as a technician, fitting in classes until she completed her electrical engineering degree.” 

CTE helps learners from all backgrounds launch new paths or reimagine current careers. Get There, Florida’s workforce education initiative, plays a pivotal role in this process by increasing awareness and enrollment in sought-after, high-paying programs. 

Through its promotion of CTE, Get There actively steers Floridians towards lucrative career opportunities that are in high demand, simultaneously addressing the pressing need among employers for a proficient talent pool. 

Under the leadership of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida has invested over $8.5 billion in state dollars in workforce education programs, making Florida number one in the nation for attracting and developing a skilled workforce. As a result, the state currently has nearly 800,000 K-12 CTE students and more than 412,000 postsecondary CTE students.  

See also  News Around The State

“Florida’s commitment to career and technical education is paving the path for our economy’s prosperity,” says Kevin O’Farrell, Chancellor for the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Career and Adult Education. “We are equipping students with the job-specific training and real-world skills they need to achieve career success while minimizing time and expense.” 

Get There is about providing alternative pathways to success that don’t necessarily come in the form of a traditional four-year degree. Florida’s state colleges, technical colleges, apprenticeships, and job training programs are all paths to attain mid- to high-wage careers. 

Johnson credits CTE courses with being her launching pad. They provided her with the skills she needed to work in her desired field, mentors to envision new possibilities and confidence to reach for even bigger dreams. 

“I would definitely encourage someone to pursue either a certification class or a two-year course,” said Johnson, who now works in Missions Systems at Northrop Grumman. “Now that I know better, you don’t have to go into a four-year program to get the same skills and knowledge and salary to work in a STEM career.”  

And, she said, “It makes a difference to do what you love.” 

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