The new leaders of Florida’s two largest universities recently shared how their universities are meeting the employer demand for talent. University of Florida President Kent Fuchs and Florida State University President John Thrasher discussed new strategies and visions that will drive innovation and shape Florida’s future in talent development in a new workforce of global competition and innovation.
At a forum attended by close to 350 business leaders and moderated by University of North Florida President John Delaney, the presidents discussed ways their universities are helping to cultivate and develop a skilled workforce and shared their commitment to working closer with Florida-based companies to produce graduates that help satisfy business’ needs.
As the availability of workforce talent is one of the major deciding factors in economic development discussions, the presidents commented that they are eager to learn more from local employers about how best to train the region’s next generation of workers.
Both presidents highlighted the continual push toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) expertise in their students as these fields are expected to grow considerably over the next decade.
Fuchs said while STEM-educated graduates are currently in demand at about 50,000 companies nationwide, many employers seek similar qualities in liberal arts students as well.
Thrasher stated that employers are seeking talent skills that can span disciplines and continents – a workforce that wants to change the world.
JAXUSA, host of the forum, strives to provide employer demands for talent – in a variety of industries – through key education and workforce initiatives. Continual feedback is sought from employers to determine how to work closer with universities and their developing curriculum in training the workforce of the future.