Bringing the Future of Work to Life in Florida

Bringing the Future of Work to Life in Florida

Xello is the Florida Future of Work CCR online platform. Here’s what it takes to roll out Xello statewide.

The Florida Chamber Foundation and Florida Department of Education recently launched the Future of Work Florida initiative—and Xello was named the state’s online college and career readiness platform. 

A press release announcing the initiative stated its purpose is to “…galvanize support for Career and Technical Education (CTE)…”. It also noted that the state has more jobs than people looking for work and too few candidates who lack the necessary qualifications. The initiative website says, “…we must align market needs with talent supply and implement the right training for mid- to high-wage, high-demand jobs. In doing so, we improve our students’ chances for a more prosperous future. Workforce education will propel us there – faster, farther.”

The Florida Commissioner for Education, Manny Diaz Jr., added, “These are top-notch programs in high-skill sectors that don’t require a four-year degree — fields like artificial intelligence, engineering technology, healthcare, IT, robotics and more. A low-cost credential with high-wage potential offers a phenomenal return on investment.”

As the state looks to make a pivotal shift toward enhancing educational outcomes and preparing students for life beyond high school, they selected Xello to partner with statewide. Xello gives Florida students access to a comprehensive career development program. It enables them to explore in-demand careers and advancement opportunities for those who enter a Career and Technical Education program, and offers a scalable way to maintain the customized 1:1 launch plan by district approach.

A Great Team Effort 

I’m proud to say that the approach we took to rollout Xello across Florida in the fall of 2023 has set us up to engage millions of students in 2024 and will inform how we approach future statewide implementations. Read on to find out what it took to train 6k educators across 50+ districts, while accommodating for the complexities that exist with larger student populations (upwards of 40k in some districts).

The 2023 Xello Learning Summit: Helping educators help students 

After the official Kick Off of Xello’s Florida implementation in January 2023, we quickly put a team together to strategize on how to build upon this milestone. Where did we land? A series of four in-person onboarding events to be conducted across the state in November. These learning summits promised to bring together the Xello implementation team and thought leaders with hundreds of Florida counselors, CTE staff, and administrators. What started as planning for a typical on-the-road training day turned into something much more. A rich learning experience for all attendees full of a-ha moments; myself included. 

Their purpose was to ensure attendees gained an in-depth knowledge of the Xello program, understood how it aligns with Florida’s education landscape, and gained practical tips and tricks to make the most of the program.

But it was the bringing together of education professionals from across the state to interact and learn from each other that fostered the sense of community needed to launch a stellar Xello program. We can now tout a community of educators focused on maximizing student potential through effective utilization of their Xello platform.

However, meeting strangers can be daunting. No matter the age of the “student”. We took care of that. “I love the icebreakers,” said a Fort Lauderdale attendee.

Then there was the keynote address. We were fortunate to start our days off with words from their peers – former CCLR district leaders – that highlighted the power of collaborative and strategic planning. We discussed the transformative benefits of data tracking, team building, comprehensive planning, and program evaluation, and the pivotal role these play in shaping impactful outcomes for school districts.

By the end of the keynote address, attendees:

  • Discovered why early preparation is pivotal to a student’s future success.
  • Understood the interconnection of career, college, and life readiness.
  • Evaluated the benefits of post-secondary education.
  • Developed a personalized roadmap for career, college, and life readiness.

The same Fort Lauderdale educator reaffirmed why these events can be so memorable. She shared about keynote speaker, Anthony Cook (current Xello Trainer,  and former Florida client and Customer Advisory Board member) “Mr. Cook is an amazing and great speaker. We as counselors are excited and prepared to rollout Xello!” 

Learning pathways that complement professional and program goals

Throughout the day, there were three breakout sessions. During each session, attendees could choose from three options. Since we are a K-12 solution, there were options geared towards elementary, middle, and high school professionals (some were apropos for all levels).

Take a Look at the Agenda Here

While most of the summit days were led by Xello team presenters, attendees were offered valuable networking opportunities. I was personally inspired by their discussions and the insights into state expectations.

Here are highlights from a few sessions that received the most praise: 

Exploring pathways and the 4 E’s in Xello

As one Orlando attendee said, “I loved the 4 E exercises that showed many pathways to a career.”  

Note the 4 E’s are:

  • Enrolling in college
  • Enlisting in the military
  • Seeking direct employment and
  • Using a gap year for exploration.

By the end of the session, attendees were better prepared to guide and support their students in making informed decisions about their post-secondary options and understand how Xello can help. 

Using Xello reports to make data-driven decisions

Everyone wants to make data-informed decisions. However, collecting and analyzing can be time-consuming. Educators are required to supply data to the state. It also informs decisions. 

But educators need help. That’s why the ‘Using Xello reports to make data-driven decisions’ was such a hugely attended session. This only furthers my resolve to continue to find ways to enable our clients to tell stories with their data.  

For educators involved in career development planning, access to data and insights is essential. It helps them improve students’ future readiness outcomes and achieve district goals. Xello’s robust reports help program leads consider adjustments to course offerings, career-related curriculum, or other program components. 

Everything you need to know about Senate Bill 240

In the spring of 2023, the Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 240. The legislation is intended to shine a spotlight on career and technical education (CTE). 

There are many ways to translate bill requirements into program activities. But, what are the best ways? 

That was the purpose of the session, “Everything you need to know about Senate Bill 240” co-presented by Lee Chipps-Walton, Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education. The session explored the requirements of SB 240 and how Xello is woven into the bill. Some attendees were illuminated to learn a few things they hadn’t even realized were requirements.

Besides exploring the requirements of SB 240, how to prepare for it, and understanding the elements of the bill that include Xello, attendees shared initiatives they started in their district/school to support the new bill. This led to educators in neighboring districts to discuss and ideate. “I learned and made connections,” said a Fort Lauderdale educator who attended the summit.

Meet 1:1 with the Xello team, your career readiness trusted advisor

A fourth breakout session option was purposefully left open for discussion and consultation with Xello representatives. “Whether it was this option or those organized by specific topic, I can appreciate that the connections we built throughout the summit days will last us long into the school year” . Said a summit attendee in Panama, “The Xello people are easy to work with. Lots of energy! I learned lots!” 

Valuable training for creating successful futures

Program implementation across an entire state is no easy feat. Certainly, though, our team leaned on the best practices we developed from our other large district implementations and statewide partnerships.

The Xello Learning Summit held across four locations was a meaningful first step in helping educators meet the Future of Florida Work goals. It brought together professionals from various regions and helped them create a community focused on maximizing student potential through the Xello platform.

“Each day of the Learning Summit was a new adventure and an opportunity to connect with dedicated and enthusiastic educators across Florida,” said Noa Lipton, Xello’s Florida territory manager. “The emphasis on questions related to empowering students and engagement showcases their passion to support their students. It is an honor to work with this vibrant community and we look forward to continuing the learning and collaboration again next year!”

And educators left the events inspired and hungry for more. 

“I loved today’s event and hope there will be more in person training in our area.” Another educator said, “Excellent. I’m glad I pushed to attend. This seems like a phenomenal team and program.”

According to Lee, the  summit is already seeing ripples of success in helping students better understand their futures. 

“The Xello team was professional from start to finish. They were masterworkers of relationships (they seemed to know each attendee by first name), content (even during technically complex questions and answers), and myriad of event details (every aspect of the events ran flawlessly). In the weeks following the events, we saw a major uptick in educator and student system integration and use – a clear sign that the events were effectual.” 

For those unable to attend the event, check these resources for Florida educators and the Florida Learning Summit Takeaway Package, which has a collection of session materials, including presentation slides and key resources shared during the summits.

After this weeklong tour across Florida, I feel more confident than ever that we’ll help propel our Florida clients to “get there” “…faster and go farther. If you’d like to learn more about what a large district, regional, or statewide implementation looks like, Xello can help.

 Could Xello be the right fit for your statewide needs? Let’s Discuss!