Education & Training


Education and Training

From preschool to college, Highlands County and its surrounding area offers quality education that is accessible and affordable. 

K - 12 Education

Highlands County School Board consists of 17 public schools that are preparing more than 12,000 student’s Pre-K through 12th grade to be tomorrow’s leaders. It also employees more than 2,000 professional, paraprofessional and auxiliary staff. The students in Highlands County represent more than 55 countries and speak 32 languages, making our community quite diverse. 


The District supports the talents and multiple interests of our students through choice programs such as International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, the Highlands Career Institute and numerous industry certifications. This year the District has about 1,031 students in Advanced Placement classes, 289 in the International Baccalaureate program, and 1,447 in the AVID program. In terms of vocational offerings, last year 780 students earned industry certification or a digital tool. The Highlands County school district has many high achieving students who are pursuing a variety of career paths and will be well-equipped to be our future workforce.

Higher Education

South Florida State College

South Florida State College (SFSC) offers more than 70 degrees and programs in high-demand fields to match the needs of students and our local workforce. SFSC offers baccalaureate degrees, the Associate in Arts (AA) degrees, and technical workforce programs that lead to an Associate in Science (AS) degree, certificate or diploma. SFSC has two campuses in Highlands County and a third campus in DeSoto County. In addition to its baccalaureate and associate degree programs, it offers a variety of services aimed at a broad spectrum of users, including: 


The Highlands Career Institute in partnership with South Florida State College, integrates academic and technical curricula thatallows students to meet graduation requirements while developing technical skills in specific areas. 


The Corporate Education Department at SFSC provides customized training solutions using proven adult- learning methods and contemporary learning technology. The program develops custom solutions to help local employers meet their organization’s specific training and development goals.


In Fall 2017, the workforce in Highlands County is being radically revolutionized with the launch of SFSC’s newest program – “Re-Engineering Our Future”. The program features three degree offerings related to Highlands County’s target industries in engineering technology, mechatronics and biomedical science. The program includes high-tech learning labs with portable components that enable it to offer onsite training to employers as well as two, Siemens-certified instructors. The program also features direct transfer opportunities to partner programs at Florida Polytechnic University and the University of South Florida. 

SFSC dental program student

Access To Colleges and Universities Within 100 Miles

Highlands County is surrounded by top-tier state colleges, universities, and one of the highest per capita concentrations of federal science, research and engineering facilities in the country. Add to that our 300 days of sunshine and ability to hit the water for a much needed break from studying, and it’s easy to see why these students make their roots here – eventually becoming our valued employees. Click on the links below to learn more about our local colleges and universities within 100 miles:

Educational Partnerships

CareerSource Heartland

Florida’s customized training programs and incentives help companies become operational and profitable in less time and with lower costs. CareerSource Heartland, the county’s innovative partnership for workforce training, provides programs such as Quick Response Training and Incumbent Worker Training to help existing and new companies recruit, train and maintain cutting-edge skills and keep pace with new technologies. To find skilled candidates for your company or discover how CareerSource Heartland workforce development opportunities can help you grow, visit www.careersourceheartland.com.  

Heartland Education Consortium

Heartland Educational Consortium is a regional, non-profit, educational service agency founded in 1996 to provide cooperative services to member districts in central rural Florida. The organization is dedicated to assisting member districts in achieving their goals and objectives through sharing ideas and resources to enhance the delivery of programs and services.

Heartland Educational Consortium offers a variety of services to member districts. Examples of services include but are not limited to: leadership development for teachers and administrators; professional development for school and district personnel; support and assistance for curriculum, instruction, assessment and technology initiatives; updates and guidance on legislation; grant writing; role alike networking, instructional materials review and an annual leadership conference.


Enhancing the quality of life in Highlands County by attracting a variety of new businesses and increasing industrial investment, all while facilitating the retention and successful expansion of existing businesses and industry.

Keep In Touch

Economic Development
Highlands County Board of County Commissioners
(P) 863.402.6924
(F) 863.402.6651