Top Three Takeaways – June 25th, 2021
- So, you say there’s a deal? News of a bipartisan infrastructure deal on Thursday struck me as apropos during a day in which we saw heroes working together across agencies in a common cause to save lives and make the best out of an awful tragedy in Surfside. It’s during times of adversity that we see what people are made of. The first responders in Surfside are made of something more valuable than gold, or even bitcoin...and it’s in that context...that I'm reminded how despite the ever bitter and brutal political divisions in this county - most people, even those I/we tend to disagree with the most – are still really good when the chips are down. Here’s a Tweet from a member of Congress: My prayers are with Surfside as rescuers from across South Florida work tirelessly to locate and save residents. While details are still emerging, we pray that the casualties are limited and first responders are safe as they address this horrific collapse. Who do you think that message came from? If you said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, you’re correct. I couldn’t have said it better myself. We’re all God’s children. That matters first and most. We tend to forget that rather important detail in the day to day and we should all be praying for more Surfside survivors.
- But about that infrastructure deal... Ok right, so what’s in it? The $953 billion deal includes...some actual infrastructure with the largest single category represented being what we traditionally identify as infrastructure with bridges, roads and related projects checking in at $109 billion. What else is in there...Airports, Broadband, Buses, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Environmental Projects, Public Transportation, Resilience, Ports, Power Grid, Rail/Trains, Water Systems and about $31 billion in items that were indiscernible to me. In the grand scheme of spending yet another $600 billion dollars in new money we can’t really afford to spend – it's not too bad...Provided it’s not as useless as the “shovel ready jobs” that weren’t a la 2009’s infrastructure debacle. I’m cautiously optimistic, and in part, because what’s the point otherwise?
- Ready to REACH? Had it not been for the horrible tragedy in Surfside, Thursday would have been another day to celebrate success in Florida. Just prior to leaving for Surfside Governor DeSantis signed three bills into law aimed at helping take kids from the classroom into careers. The most notable of the three is the REACH, or Reimagining Education and Career Help, Act. The Act creates a REACH Office within the governor's office, tasked with tying all of government careers resources together in one place. This means CareerSource, Department of Education and Department of Economic Opportunity will have a one stop shop to connect graduates with career opportunities and training along with those on unemployment. Additionally, a newly created grant program will directly match Floridians with employers participating with the state for automatic job placement. The Open-Door Workforce Grant Program, as it’s called, is specifically aimed at helping trade-school students immediately obtain career opportunities. Another law was signed to encourage internships by removing workers compensation liability from companies and placing it through schools offering internships and the third creates a scholarship program for those seeking vocational education. All good and as Governor DeSantis said... We’re proud of our university system. Obviously, that’s an important track for many people. But I think what we’ve tried to emphasize since I became Governor is pursuing vocational education, pursuing career education, technical education. Pursuing a career in the skilled trades is admirable. So, who’s ready to REACH? There’s about to be a lot of opportunity. All three kick in July 1st.