On Wednesday, Florida TaxWatch announced the release of the taxpayer research institute’s latest report, “An Independent Assessment of the Value of Broward UP.”
Launched by Broward College in 2018, Broward UP (Unlimited Potential) is an innovative approach to increasing college access and delivering workforce education in communities impacted by high unemployment and low education attainment, with the aim to improve economic mobility in targeted Broward County area ZIP codes.
Broward UP expands the college’s business model to address some of the barriers to post-secondary education access by taking programs and courses directly to these communities. Residents complete free workforce training, earning in-demand certificates and industry certifications in areas connected to workforce needs.
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the report on Wednesday.
“Right now, the average unemployment rate in these communities is triple that of Broward County as a whole. Broward UP is offering Broward County residents practical skills and experience, as well as tangible resources like industry certifications, which empower them to find gainful work, consistently provide for themselves, and ultimately increase their lifetime earnings. This Florida TaxWatch report finds that the approximate total of Broward UP participants’ career earnings is over $1.3 billion, and what’s more, the program has the potential to save Florida millions of dollars in public assistance funds annually. Given those far-reaching benefits, we strongly encourage policymakers, other colleges, and communities to use this successful framework as a model for the rest of the state,” Calabro said.
Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile also talked about UP on Wednesday.
“Broward UP operationalizes a bedrock ideal of our existence: every resident should be empowered and enabled to pursue post-secondary education. This business model expansion echoes our resolve to bridge the chasm between talent and opportunity. We are pleased that the Florida TaxWatch report provides independent evidence of Broward UP’s material economic impact on our participants, the community, and the state of Florida. The Report will fuel our efforts. I am grateful to our partners, investors, faculty, and staff for effectuating our collective ambitions,” Haile said.
“It isn’t enough for Broward College to be an excellent institution for those who can get to us. We must reach into the community and serve people who may not seek out higher education for various reasons. If we are to have a fully recovered and vibrant economy, we need everyone to be able to connect to jobs that lead to resilient wages, and those jobs require post high school credentials of value. For this reason, Broward College expanded our business model, through trusted community partnerships, to offer free workforce training to ensure everyone can achieve their Unlimited Potential; this is our Broward UP model,” said Dr. Mildred Coyne, the senior VP of workforce education and innovation at Broward College.
Broward College has 19 Broward UP community sites throughout the County and 27 municipal and agency partners. The inaugural partner site was the Urban League of Broward County.
“The Urban League of Broward County is pleased to have been the pilot site and a continued partner with Broward UP. Broward UP aligns not only with our mission to promote economic and social equality; it does so in a way that places equity at the forefront. At the Urban League, we believe that when access meets opportunity, people will make the choice to advance their life goals for the better. Urban League’s collaboration with Broward UP embodies this value statement,” said Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, the president and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County.
Participants in Broward UP enroll in courses that can be taken face-to-face or through remote instructor-led sessions, with focus areas ranging from medical coding to business and supply chain management.
To date, Broward College’s Broward UP has raised approximately $6 million to cover student tuition for over 2,000 students through credit and non-credit options.
Other Key Findings:
- For every $1 of incurred cost – due to start-up and operations cost – the state of Florida can expect to receive $13.13 in benefit.
- Across all Broward UP students, there is an anticipated $475 million in increased work-life income expectancy – an amount that figures to about $204,000 more in additional lifetime income per student.
- Across the Broward UP ZIP codes, participants contribute an average of $39 million in additional lifetime earnings to these local areas.
- The analysis also finds that based on the current number of Broward UP students, the fiscal benefit to tax revenue would be around $556,000 annually, as individuals spend more on taxable goods and services.
- Total net benefits range anywhere from $13 million to $53 million in the Broward UP ZIP codes.
- The additional income would encourage more local spending, further supporting businesses in the area.