Jason Shoaf considers good paying jobs a top priority in house race for District 7
For decades, the government has been working to improve high school curriculum so our kids are college-ready. What about the kids who aren't going to college? What have we done to help them be successful in life?
College is not for everyone. In House District 7, roughly 75 percent of residents didn't choose to go to college or didn't finish college. Too many of our kids are left behind with just a high school degree and a ticket to a minimum wage job.
But I believe you don't need a college degree to be successful in life. I'm one example of that.
When I graduated from high school in Port St. Joe, I moved to Tallahassee and enrolled in Florida State University. I worked several jobs all through college and after completing many hours of silly liberal arts classes, I realized that college wasn't for me. I stopped going to class and chose to work instead. Eventually, I finished my AA from Tallahassee Community College.
Instead of pursuing a bachelor's degree, I started a career in real estate. That career enabled me to launch my own real estate business. I grew that business. I hired employees, and I managed a payroll. I learned the challenges of running a business and how government can get in the way.
Most importantly, I realized you can be successful in life without a diploma on your wall. You just need the right skills and training.
When I'm elected to serve our community as a state representative, I'm going to create two pathways for students in high school.
One option already exists. It's the path for kids who want to be college-ready. They can take AP classes and dual enrollment classes. They graduate with the prerequisites necessary to get into college or an university, and their high school experience provides a strong foundation for the challenges of higher education.
The second option will be for students who want to be career-ready. Schools should provide more vocational training and more industry-specific certifications so that when these students graduate from high school, they're ready to start a career.
Providing high tech industry certifications for our high school students will open doors for them. It will give them an advantage entering the workforce and allow them to remain in our North Florida communities. It will give our businesses in North Florida the workforce pipeline they need to grow and thrive.
Growing up in a mill town, I saw firsthand what happens to a person who has the rug pulled out from under them. The paper mill shut down, and overnight everyone's plans for the future washed away. Some turned to drugs and alcohol while others simply moved away separating generations of families.
It doesn't have to be that way. There are rewarding, good-paying careers that can support a family. Our students just need the right skills and training.
As your state representative, I'll work to make sure no child in our community graduates high school without the hope of a promising future.
Jason Shoaf is a Republican candidate for state representative in House District 7. He is a small business owner and resident in Port St. Joe. You may contact Shoaf by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid by Jason Shoaf, Republican, for State Representative.