On October 7 at 7 p.m., citizens of Pasco and Hernando counties have an opportunity to get the training they need to return to the workforce. This free virtual event is geared toward changing lives in a challenging time for many still looking to return to work.

Pasco-Hernando State College is excited to announce we have partnered with a rapid learning program called Workforce Entrepreneurship Research and Community (WERC). It is a national community and workforce activation platform that integrates personal growth and skills training. The goal of the program is to help community members build the future they want through a series of online and offline training, community events, and mentorship from local and national experts. PHSC is excited about this collaboration as it will be a catalyst for job growth in Pasco and Hernando Counties.

“Community workforce development is a high-priority component of PHSC’s strategic plan and mission and we are very pleased to be at the forefront of this collaboration, which will bring exciting and creative programming to our service district. Our current economic climate demands immediate training opportunities that yield meaningful employability and this partnership provides a solid foundation toward this path," said Stanley Giannet, Ph.D., PHSC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer/College Provost.

“Our goal is really simple, there are awesome people in Hernando and Pasco County who have found themselves in the unfortunate spot we all at some point find ourselves in; I want more out of my life and career but I don’t know how to take the next step. This program and the Innovation Collective program in Hernando can be that first step,” said Nick Smoot, CEO and Founder of Innovation Collective.

The program is a partnership between the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension, Pasco-Hernando State College, Hernando County, the Let’s Grow Hernando Foundation, Innovation Collective and supported by national programs like Grow with Google’s IT Professionals Program.

Pasco and Hernando counties are just the beginning with what is well on its way to becoming a state-wide initiative. “With unemployment over 10%, this program is especially meaningful and potentially life-changing for the participants,” said Economic Development Director Valerie Pianta. “Our goal is to have 100 county residents registered and learning in early October.” To be eligible for the program you must be a Hernando County resident and have been adversely impacted by the pandemic through job loss, reduced hours and/or reduced wages.

WERC officially kicks off starting on October 7 with an in-person and virtual event titled Experience Day that is co-hosted by tech executives, entrepreneurs, and rapid learning experts. At this event, Hernando County community members can learn more about the program, this will cover the skills they can rapidly learn, the types of jobs it will prepare them for, and why the IT industry has rapidly grown to a $5.2 trillion industry with no end in sight. Currently there are 80% of those who complete the program they are launching in Hernando

who have either received an increase in pay or a new job after they have completed the program.

Upon completion, graduates have their credentials automatically sent to more than 50 companies that hire individuals with the certificate and they can receive the equivalent of 4 years of college credit through the ACE Certification program.

For more information on the program, to register for the free training and/or the WERC Experience Day on October 7 at 7 p.m. register at https://innovationcollective.zohobackstage.com/ExperienceDay

To join the live Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84974033898