Face Off: Education Updates to Keep Feeding Orlando’s Growing Job Market

Face Off: Education Updates to Keep Feeding Orlando’s Growing Job Market

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read November 2019— Orlando has ranked among the country’s fastest-growing job markets for several years and it is also ranked by Forbes as the No. 3 city for future job growth. To continue its recognition as a great job market, there is a need for qualified talent with the necessary skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Invest: Orlando recently spoke with leaders of two major colleges in the area: Grant Cornwell, president of Rollins College, and Georgia Lorenz, president of Seminole State College of Florida, to learn about the efforts to feed the local talent pipeline.

What academic programs are seeing the most demand?

Grant Cornwell: Overall, we’re seeing increasing demand for our future-proof brand of liberal arts education. In terms of majors, our most popular programs include biology, communication studies, psychology, and our three undergraduate business degrees: business management, international business, and social entrepreneurship. That last one, social entrepreneurship, is one of our fastest-growing majors, and it was the first program of its kind to earn accreditation from AACSB International, which is the gold standard for business education. It teaches students how to apply business skills and entrepreneurial thinking and action to tackle social and environmental problems around the world. That is very appealing to this generation of students who want the tools to solve some of the global challenges that they’re inheriting and who want to make a positive impact in their lives and careers. 

Georgia Lorenz: Healthcare in general is one of the fastest-growing areas. As the Central Florida region continues to grow, there is a need for an additional 1,000 bachelor’s degree-trained nurses each year for the next decade. Our bachelor’s degree in health sciences is also experiencing great demand because it prepares students for a variety of health-related careers. We also launched our hospitality management program in fall 2019, to meet the high demand for restaurant and hotel management professionals. In the area of technology, our mechatronics and robotics program continues to expand. We want our students to be able to adapt as the industry changes. In spring 2020, we’re going to start a new focus area in simulation, which is a huge industry in Central Florida. Another area of growth for us is cybersecurity, which leads to great job opportunities. 

What are you efforts to attract and retain talent in Orlando?

Georgia Lorenz: First and foremost, the tremendous population and economic growth in Orlando represents an incredible opportunity for our students and graduates. At Rollins, we’re preparing graduates who are not only uniquely prepared to thrive in this dynamic economy right away but are also ready to help Orlando reach even greater heights through lifelong leadership. Second, Orlando’s growth is providing our students more and more opportunities to put their ideas to work in the world. Every semester, our students gain professional experience through internships at some of the world’s most innovative companies and organizations right here in Central Florida — from ALDI and NASA to Universal and The Walt Disney Co. Rollins’ also boasts some of the best community-engagement programs and initiatives that you’ll find at any college anywhere in the country. Every single day, our students partner with local and national organizations to create positive change in our community. In the process, they not only learn the importance of engaged citizenship but also develop experience that will give them a competitive advantage in the job market.

Grant Cornwell: Research has shown that the better education ecosystem a region has, the more likely they are to attract new businesses and retain the businesses that are already in the area. Seminole State continues to work closely with Seminole County Public Schools to create pathways for our students throughout their school careers and into higher education. As the population and the business community grow, we will need more professionals in a number of industries. And we are making sure we provide the talent to these new and emerging areas to help with the social and economic infrastructure of Central Florida. We are using technological advances to serve our students more effectively. We’re always looking for new software or innovations to better serve our students. Every program at Seminole State has an advisory board, made up of local business leaders and faculty members, to ensure that we’re preparing our graduates for the jobs of tomorrow. We also prepare students with hands-on learning experiences through internships and work-based problem solving to give them real world experiences with the latest technologies before they graduate. That’s something that distinguishes a Seminole State educational experience from many other institutions.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Rollins College: https://www.rollins.edu/

Seminole State College of Florida: https://www.seminolestate.edu/


Big Reveal: A New Look for Charlotte’s Main Library

Big Reveal: A New Look for Charlotte’s Main Library

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read November 2019In the information age, knowledge is power. As Charlotte continues to attract top-level companies and talent across multiple industries to the region, Mecklenburg County wants to provide Charlotteans a sleek, modern, and highly technological space to study, learn, and absorb information. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library unveiled the design plans for its new $135 million, 115,000-square-foot Main Library in Uptown Charlotte. The design features five levels and one lower level, two outdoor terraces, immersive theaters, conference rooms, and a revamped Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room. The plans were revealed two days after voters rejected an arts- and education-related sales tax increase.

The new Main Library will be made possible via a public-private partnership. According to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the county has committed $65 million to the project. The library’s foundation will raise the remaining $70 million through a new campaign, called CommonSpark. Reportedly, the Knight Foundation pledged a $10 million donation to the new library on Thursday. Demolition is slated for 2021, with an expected completion date of 2024.

The plans for the new Main Library come after Mecklenburg County voters rejected a 0.25% sales tax increase that would have funded art, education, parks and more for Charlotte. If passed, the sales tax would have increased from its current 7.25% to 7.5%. Sales tax advocates, which included the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, estimated the tax would raise around $50 million a year for arts and education-related initiatives. 

Though voters rejected the sales tax, the new library is part of the vision for Uptown Charlotte as the area continues to develop. “The new main library will be an architecturally-distinctive, state-of-the-art, technologically-advanced knowledge center and public commons, where everyone in our community can access the resources of a 21st-century library,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO Lee Keesler in a press release. “The new Main Library helps further our mission to improve lives and build a stronger community by strengthening public engagement, supporting economic opportunity and connecting community resources.”

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system is comprised of 20 libraries and it serves more than 1 million residents, according to its website. The Main Library design plans account for a job training center, counseling services space, along with the core technology and maker space offerings, including a technology center, computer lab, digital visualization lab, and recording studios. Two outdoor terraces will overlook Tryon Street and Uptown Charlotte, giving visitors a front-and-center look at the transformation of the area.  

For more information visit:


How Philly Universities Are Getting Ready for Jobs of the Future

How Philly Universities Are Getting Ready for Jobs of the Future

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read OCTOBER 2019 — The higher education sector is one of Philadelphia’s main economic engines. As technology and innovation disrupt every industry, Philly’s higher education institutions are revamping their curriculums to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently met with college leaders to explore their efforts around workforce readiness. 


Many higher education institutions are focusing on emerging fields and professions to meet the needs of local and international businesses. “There’s no question that professions like technology, medical, and financial services lead to gainful employment in today’s society,” Aaron Walton, president of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, told Invest:

“A lot of our strategic planning aims to reshape our academic focus toward the jobs of the future. We’re talking about becoming a 21st century model institution in which there’s significant emphasis on the quest for excellence in academics, character and social responsibility. We are placing particular emphasis on the medical services arena,” Walton said. 

According to Pew’s State of Education in Philadelphia 2019 report, 28% of Philadelphians 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree — a lower percentage than in many U.S. cities — and 16 percent of Philadelphians have completed some college credits but do not have a degree. 

Aside from including new, innovative programs many schools are also reimaging the learning environment. “Twenty-first century learning has evolved dramatically, and so, too, have our learning spaces. Starting with our Business and Public Management Center, which we opened two years ago, the Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons, and renovations such as Anderson Hall, West Chester University’s buildings are now being built to reinvigorate the learning environment based on the technological tools that students need to be successful,” Christopher Fiorentino, president of West Chester University, told Invest:. 

Due to the major presence of biomedical and pharmaceutical companies in the Philadelphia region there is a need for graduates in the life sciences and biomedical engineering arena. Widener University is helping students to advance into high-paying jobs through its health sciences, engineering and sciences programs. 

“Widener’s robotics engineering undergraduate program launched in fall 2018 and we opened a new state-of-the-art robotics laboratory with funding from a generous donor. We have also introduced a new occupational therapy doctoral program, which will be housed in a completely renovated building that will open in fall 2019,” said Widener’s President Julie E. Wollman in a recent interview with the Invest: Philadelphia team. 

Community colleges are also embracing innovative academic programs to provide qualified talent to the local pool. That is the case of Delaware County Community College, which is developing new methods to meet the needs of its students and integrating apprenticeship programs with regional business and industry partners.

“Technology has changed the way that we deliver education. We have an extensive Advanced Technology Center, which helps students navigate opportunities in areas such as manufacturing,  welding, transportation, logistics, automotive, advanced technology, skilled trades and others. Every program that we offer is infused with technology. That is what is changing the landscape; every career involves technology,” Joy Gates Black, president of Delaware County Community College, told Invest:. 

It is projected that 75 million to 375 million workers globally may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills, according to a McKinsey & Company report. It is also expected that 8 to 9 percent of 2030 labor demand will be in new types of occupations that have not existed before.


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania: https://cheyney.edu/ 

West Chester University: https://www.wcupa.edu/ 

Widener University: https://www.widener.edu/ 

Delaware County Community College: https://www.dccc.edu/ 

Charlotte Rising to Tech Challenge Related to Emerging Workforce

Charlotte Rising to Tech Challenge Related to Emerging Workforce

By Felipe Rivas

2 min read October 2019 – The business world was abuzz earlier in October when American conglomerate Honeywell broke ground on its new global headquarters at Legacy Union in Uptown Charlotte. Honeywell, a diversified engineering and technology giant, is the latest example of a large company flocking to the Queen City looking to expand and grow, and local leaders are doing their part to ensure success. As the economy in the Charlotte Metro Area continues to diversify, educational and economic development leaders are working to equip the workforce to thrive in the tech-based jobs coming to the area.  

Historically, Charlotte has been the second-largest banking capital of the United States, but that is broadening, said Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo. “The most exciting part is the growth of the technology sector. Charlotte is a hotbed for technology right now,” Lugo told Invest: Charlotte. “Those with strong technical skills, with an understanding of how to use data in powerful ways, how to visualize data, and how to use data to predict outcomes are going to have huge advantages,” he said. 

The university is placing a keen emphasis on producing talent that has a robust understanding of coding and data analytics. “The city and area is creating tech jobs at double the national rate and we want to be at the forefront of working with those businesses,” Lugo said. 

That means taking a community-first approach in its efforts to empower talent with tech-based skills. Its program, Digital Charlotte, aims to reduce the area’s digital divide by connecting community members to the internet and increasing their web literacy. “We are perfectly positioned to be the preeminent private university of the city and of this region, building a talent pipeline to meet the needs of a growing city’s changing economy,” Lugo said.   

In Gaston County, 30 minutes away from Charlotte, economic development leaders are already experiencing spillover from Charlotte’s growth and preparing its workforce for incoming manufacturing and tech-based jobs. “For Gaston, it’s all about the Charlotte market, tapping into it and knowing what their needs are,” said Gaston Regional Chamber CEO Steve D’Avria.

“The biggest set of industries coming in are the advanced manufacturing sectors because our labor is more affordable,” D’Avria told Invest: Charlotte.       

The chamber is focusing on education by supporting accelerated college programs for Gaston County’s high-school students, as well as programs at Gaston College centered on business and information technology career tracks and certificates. “Education has been one of our focuses,” D’Avria said.  

Connecting students and workers to jobs to practice their tech skills while they are in school is another chamber priority. “Around 60% of our members are small businesses, so we’re a connector of resources in the community,” D’ Avria said. “We’re also expanding into the co-working space in Gastonia. In Belmont, we have a program called Gaston Tech Works, and it’s all technology-focused.”


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:



Spotlight On: Randy Avent, President, Florida Polytechnic University

Spotlight On: Randy Avent, President, Florida Polytechnic University

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read September 2019 — The Tampa Bay region is home to a slew of world-class and innovative higher education universities, the newest being Florida Polytechnic University located in Lakeland, Florida. This innovative university has quickly become a training ground for the future technical workforce in Florida. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat with Randy Avent, the founding president for Florida Polytechnic University who expressed his excitement about the possibilities for the university. During the course of his interview, he spoke about how Florida Polytechnic is playing a major role in the economic development of Polk County, the greatest challenge facing the school and what the near-future will look like for the university.

How is Florida Polytechnic University a key to economic growth in Polk County? 

Technical research universities have a tremendous influence on growing the economies in the areas that surround them, and that is what we plan to do for Polk County and the entire state of Florida. Economic growth begins by creating high-skilled, high-wage, high-tech jobs and you do that through excellence in education. Each of these jobs is accompanied by several midwage positions that support it, which ultimately leads to a stronger overall economy. Companies want to be located near universities known for producing graduates in high-demand fields with low supply. They feed from this pipeline of high-technology talent that is ready to lead in industry and to create the next innovations that will disrupt the status quo. 


What is the biggest challenge facing the university? 

As a new university, there are always challenges. The day we opened the university we had a full student body and were doing $30 million dollars worth of business. The university is still a startup because we are only six years into this and most universities have been around for more than 50 years. It will take time for the dust to settle and one challenge will be to continue attracting students who can be successful in a curriculum like this. We want to retain high-quality students in Florida by offering them a curriculum that is different from the institutions they’re looking at out of state. We are also an attractive option because only 11% of our students are graduating with debt and the average debt is only $7,000. 


What is on the horizon for the university? 

We will continue growing and developing our curriculum. We are very fortunate that we were able to hire the provost from Colorado School of Mines, which USA Today ranked as the No. 1 engineering school three years in a row. He has led an effort to rebuild and grow the curriculum, and that includes making sure that it meets national standards. We are also hoping to break ground on the new Applied Research Center where we will continue to grow our research efforts. In the past, we grew the student body extraordinarily fast as part of our startup, and we have been trying to catch up on growing the faculty body. We are focusing less on growing the class now and more on shaping it and that has allowed us to catch up with faculty hiring. We also want to continue building our graduate program because a graduate program is the lifeblood of a research university, so that is an area that we will be focusing on as well. 


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:


Spotlight On: Joseph Cox, President & CEO, Museum of Discovery and Science

Spotlight On: Joseph Cox, President & CEO, Museum of Discovery and Science

By Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read September 2019 — To be considered a staple within the growing economic landscape of Broward County is no small accomplishment, especially as new options seem to become available to the public on a weekly basis. There has to be a real sense of connection and purpose formed with the public, as well as being an established economic driver, for a business or institution to achieve this status. Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale had the opportunity to speak with Joseph Cox, the President & CEO of one of the staples of Broward County the Museum of Discovery and Science. Throughout the course of the discussion Mr. Cox made note of how the museum is working to address the lack of STEM workforce in Broward, how they are using new technology to their benefit, the counties support of institutions like the museum and the museum’s important role as an economic driver in the region.

How is the museum helping to address the lack of STEM workforce in Broward County? 

South Florida is powered by industries that thrive on a strong, vibrant STEM workforce. From aviation to tech, there is a unique voice in the local workforce of innovators, tinkerers and problem-solvers.  The Museum of Discovery & Science plays a crucial role in the community by introducing children of all ages to the exciting opportunities offered by careers in STEM. We recently opened The Leighton Family Hangar, our innovative Makerspace exhibit, a hands-on collaborative experience that fosters the learning of new skills, creating products and sharing ideas. Through partnerships with corporations, universities, technical colleges and, of course, our local school system, we will be offering an exciting range of programs and events that allow students to gain valuable skills for their future and ultimately our community’s future. The Hangar will inspire new generations to embrace the engineering design process as they develop, innovate and problem-solve.


How important is the adaptation of new technologies to a science museum?  

One of our goals at MODS is to connect people to inspiring science, and this includes state-of-the-art technology. Technology at the Museum is powered by our most vital resource: our staff and their creativity. Innovative technology is one of the tools our staff uses to help bring the exhibitions and programs to life. We are experimenting with the integration of augmented and mixed reality in exhibits and educational programs, as it truly is an opportunity to contribute to a new path of learning in museums. We are thrilled to have strong partnerships with Broward-based technology companies such as Citrix, Florida Power & Light and Magic Leap that allow us to drive innovation and technology forward in an accessible and meaningful way.


What is your view of the county’s support for arts and cultural institutions?

The Broward County Cultural Division clearly champions the arts in our community. The Cultural Division’s ongoing investment in cultural programming, public art and capital projects reflects the value attributed to the arts by the County.  We are fortunate to have an incredibly vibrant cultural community where collaboration is celebrated. The Museum considers the Cultural Division a partner as we work together to strengthen local cultural offerings, from exciting exhibits and award-winning education programs to breathtaking IMAX documentaries.


How is the museum an economic driver in the Broward County region? 

Beyond the cultural impact of the Museum, we also play a role in the local economy, with 150 employees and more than 400,000 visitors annually. A recent Americans for the Arts survey estimated our economic impact to be more than $22 million. The Museum purchases goods and services locally, hires and trains staff and supports many social service agencies with free and reduced admission. Whether having lunch in the neighborhood or traveling from out of town for the weekend, our visitors help drive the local economy and, with over 15% of our visitors coming from overseas, we are supporting the diverse offerings of our destination.


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:


Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — The economic environment in Philadelphia, with many world-class educational and healthcare institutions, a diverse population and affordable rents, represent an ideal space for entrepreneurs to start their small or medium-size businesses. At the heart of the small-business community is an industry that plays an essential role: banking.


Many Philadelphia banking leaders say they have seen increased demand for lending and other services from small businesses. “Philadelphia has long been home to successful small businesses, but in recent years the collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors is spurring a new level of growth,” Robert Kane, market president at KeyBank, told Invest:. 


According to Kane, KeyBank ranks 13th among more than 1,800 SBA lenders nationally. In the last five years, the bank has loaned more than $1.13 billion to small businesses across its footprint.  

Similarly, Philadelphia is one of the largest portfolios in BB&T’s footprint for small business. In an interview with Invest:, Regional President Greater Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley Region for BB&T Travis Rhodes explained that the number of small business clients the bank is serving in Philadelphia is disproportionately larger than any other market in BB&T’s footprint. As a result, it created the “Bank on Your Success” initiative, which is directed to this community. 

“This free financial knowledge program helps entrepreneurs begin to understand the value of an income statement, a balance sheet and other banking basics. When they begin to think about their kind of profitability, how to manage their short-term assets, receivables and inventory, this education is essential. That education is ultimately what prepares somebody to be able to withstand or to handle the next downturn, because it helps them understand the levers of a company,” Rhodes said. 

Some of the biggest challenges small businesses face are improving cash flow, reducing operating costs, improving financial wellness, balancing growth with quality and hiring and retaining talented employees. To help mitigate those challenges, Keybank has developed Key@Work, which is a comprehensive, no-cost employee financial wellness program. 

“We also have a program, Key4Women, that supports the financial progress of women in business. It’s a great program, offering mentorship opportunities, access to capital and professional development,” Kane said.  

The small-business sector also helps banks to maintain a local presence. “We have small-business relationship managers who know the people in the community and become the point of contact for growing their small-business loans. Business sales also come with a lot of deposits, and that’s been a very healthy growth vehicle for us over the last couple of years,” Rodger Levenson, CEO of WSFS Bank, said in an interview with Invest:. 

Small businesses also have a significant impact on Philadelphia’s employment. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia 2019: State of the City report, about 26% of private sector employees in the Philadelphia region worked in small businesses in 2017, a number that was typical for the comparison regions. Also, 17% of Philadelphia employees worked in firms with fewer than 19 employees, second-highest behind the Boston region.

“Small business continues to be the primary generator of jobs and economic activity, not just in Philadelphia but in our entire region. And we see significant growth in our small-business lending activity over the next few years,” Levenson said.  


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

KeyBank: https://www.key.com/small-business/index.jsp 

BB&T: https://www.bbt.com/small-business.html 

WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/Small-Business 

Orlando at the Cutting-Edge of Biotech Investment

by Sara Warden

2 min read August 2019 — The global biotechnology market is expected to exceed $775 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. With this amount at stake, it is little wonder Orlando is not allowing the opportunity to attract biotechnology companies pass it by.

Florida is the eighth-largest biotechnology R&D state in the United States, with over 260 biotech companies. According to a research paper by Man-Keun Kim and Thomas R. Harris on the clustering effect in the US biotechnology industry, some of the most important factors in forming a cluster include average payroll and overall education level in the region.

Orlando is addressing all these areas to attract biotech giants to the city and surrounding areas.

One example: In 2005, the University of Central Florida (UCF) received a $12.5 million donation from the Tavistock Group to build the UCF College of Medicine at Lake Nona, just south of Orlando Airport. The Orlando community matched the donation, which was in turn matched by a government grant, taking the total investment in the campus to over $100 million.

The new college broke ground in 2007, and the school announced that each of the 41 charter students would be awarded a full $40,000 four-year scholarship. The program attracted 4,300 applicants and the class members had the highest MCAT and GPA scores in the state. The campus continues to expand, now including the medical school’s new 170,000-square-foot medical education facility, as well as its new 198,000-square-foot Burnett Biomedical Sciences building. 

UCF has continued to make partnerships with renowned medical organizations to bolster the campus’ facilities. The College of Medicine is now partnered with Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Nemours Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s largest paediatric health systems.

An economic impact study found that the College of Medicine and Lake Nona’s medical city could create more than 30,000 local jobs, have an economic impact of $7.6 billion and generate nearly $500 million in additional tax revenues for the state.

“I do believe this is a good thing for our community as we endeavor to really diversify our economy with high-wage jobs,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.

With talent at their fingertips, it is little wonder that leading biotechnology companies are flocking to the city. Most recently, biotech firm Amicus Therapeutics announced Lake Nona to be the frontrunner in a new 18-acre site in which it planned to invest $150 million.

Originally, the company planned to create 300 jobs paying an annual average of $69,670, not including benefits. This prompted the government to offer a sizeable benefits package to tempt the company to settle in the southeast Orlando site.

The government offered a 25% tax break and property tax exemptions over a period of seven years, which would save the company about $1.5 million. Additional state incentives totaled $240,000, with Orlando contributing up to $1,200 per job created. There are additional provisions to increase the tax rebate if the company’s investment exceeds $148.85 million.

“Orlando continues to be one of the sites we are considering, and the availability of tax and other incentives, as well as access to a rich talent pool, are important factors in our ultimate site-selection decision,” company spokeswoman Sara Pellgrino told the Orlando Sentinel.

The company has since changed tack, concentrating more in curative gene therapies, which would limit job numbers. “A gene-therapy facility would require less space and less personnel than a biologic drug-manufacturing plant,” Orange County Economic Development Director Eric Ushkowitz told the Orlando Sentinel. However, under the new proposal, the average salary would rocket to around $100,000.

A formal decision hasn’t been made on whether or not Amicus will have an office in Lake Nona but there are plenty of other biotechnology companies racing for their spot in the scientific hub. Newly-established startups include Aviana Molecular Technologies, which is developing a smartphone-enabled biosensor capable of detecting certain proteins that indicate infectious diseases. Also at the site is SynapCyte, a company that is developing patented technologies to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease through stem cell regeneration.

“This is the place to be if you want to be involved with life sciences,” said the site’s Manager Jim Bowie to life sciences publication BioFlorida.


6 New Areas of Study You Didn’t Know Were in Miami

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read JULY 2019 — Technology has reshaped not only how education is delivered but what courses are being taught, with universities and colleges revamping their curriculums to better prepare students with the skills employers demand. 

In Miami, local public and private higher education institutions have upgraded their academic offerings and have focused on working with local businesses to provide opportunities for more than a quarter-million students. 

Invest: Miami spoke with local leaders in the sector to get an update on their new offerings.

Florida International University (FIU)

FIU recently added a bachelor’s of science in the Internet of Things to provide knowledge and expertise in modern digital communication devices. It is also beginning to develop lifelong learner programs, including weekend, just-in-time and certificate programs related to technological and data-literacy development.

“Skill sets are increasingly becoming multidisciplinary in almost all areas. It’s a whole new world out there, and we want to make sure that our students are at the cutting edge of that,” said FIU President Mark Rosenberg, when he recently sat down with the Invest: Miami team.  

University of Miami Graduate school: 

UM Graduate School will add a degree program centered on climate change and health as part of a set of new interdisciplinary programs in the works. 

“We have to continue to push the envelope and be innovative. Educational programs tend to be concentrated, and I believe we need to continue developing interdisciplinary programs. We must give students an opportunity to practice some of their non-discipline-specific skills as well,” Guillermo “Willy” Prado, dean of UM Graduate School, said.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine:

The school is revamping its curriculum to focus on using “entrustable professional activities” to determine the competency of a medical student, as opposed to the traditional four-year structure. The approach will allow students to complete an earlier transition from medical school to residency. 

“We are in the process of designing a Miller-specific curriculum that we believe will be the model that other institutions will mimic for years to come. There has been a lot of evolution in the field, and we believe we have an opportunity to innovate and help lead in that domain,” said Dr. Henri Ford, dean and chief academic officer of Miller School of Medicine, in an interview with Invest:. 

Miami Business School (MBS): 

MBS is starting a 10-month M.S. in sustainable business next August. “That will be the first STEM-certified M.S. in sustainable business degree in the country,” Dean of MBS John Quelch told Invest:.

University of Miami School of Law:

The law school established joint degrees with University of Miami schools covering at least 10 specialties. “We’re the most interdisciplinary unit within the university. Many of our curricular offerings and our rich, intensive clinical education program in various substantive areas such as human rights, immigration and environmental justice are deeply interdisciplinary,” Patricia White, dean of the University of Miami School of Law, told Invest:.

UM Division of Continuing & International Education:

UM Division of Continuing & International Education launched certificates in coding and cybersecurity as part of its academic focus on STEM. The division’s dean, Rebecca MacMillan Fox, told Invest: that both certificates “have exceeded our expectations for enrollment and industry demand.” 

The division is also launching a GPRO Certificate Program (Green Professional Building Skills Training) that is customized for the climate and regional needs of South Florida.


To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Florida International University (FIU): https://www.fiu.edu/ 

University of Miami Graduate School: https://www.grad.miami.edu/ 

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine: http://med.miami.edu/ 

Miami Business School (MBS): https://www.bus.miami.edu/ 

University of Miami School of Law: https://www.law.miami.edu/ 

UM Division of Continuing & International Education: https://www.dcie.miami.edu/