MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - On Friday, the Florida Legislature approved a $101.5 billion state budget. In that budget was $950,000 for the School District of Manatee County.
That money will be used to expand the district’s special STEM career pathways program named Woz ED. This program prepares students as young as those in elementary school for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
In 2019, Silicon Valley’s Steve Wozniak and the Manatee School District collaborated to make Palm View K-8 School in Palmetto the first Woz ED school in the nation. Students at Palm View now received specialized instruction in areas like cybersecurity, drone piloting, maintenance and repair, engineering design, coding and mobile development.
The budget still has to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said funds approved by the legislation will be used to expand this program across the district.
“Woz-Ed career pathways is an innovative concept that helps prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow -- including jobs that don’t currently exist,” said Saunders. “I want to thank our state legislators, especially Rep. Will Robinson and Sen. Jim Boyd, for their support and sponsorship of this bill. Our hope is that the success of this program will draw jobs to Manatee County that our students can fill and excel in those jobs.”