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:

Seminole State College of Florida: