With no public opposition to the proposal from Jacksonville University to expand their reach by adding a Palm Coast campus in Town Center, the Palm Coast City Council approved, via a 3-2 vote (Barbosa and Danko), investing a total of $2.5 million to make the vision a reality.
The following are reasons why the expansion is yet another positive step in the right direction:
1. Supporting Higher Education and Cementing MedNex’s Future in this Community
Ultimately, what we’re talking about is creating the higher education trifecta in Flagler County with Daytona State, University of North Florida and now Jacksonville University. This is a game changer and will make a lasting difference in this community for years to come.
2. Workforce Development
There’s so much to be said here, but what Palm Coast/Flagler County residents will have is a pathway to educate a young person from Pre-K to Masters-level healthcare professional without them having to leave Flagler County. We will also supply existing healthcare organizations with high-quality talent and attract new businesses and investors solely because the talent is already here.
3. Future growth of Flagler County
The University of Florida’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research predicts Flagler County will grow by 23,000 residents by the year 2030, and approximately 10,000 of those residents will be 65 and older…and those are conservative figures. The J.U. proposal gives us an answer to the question “will we have enough healthcare professionals to care for the future growth in our senior citizen population?” With this approval, the answer will be “yes.”
4. Shortage of Healthcare Professionals
There is a huge demand for healthcare professionals, not only in our region, but statewide. That demand exists because we don’t have enough nurses and other qualified healthcare talent to keep up with population growth. “Palm Coast, Flagler County” is now an answer to that problem. Folks, that’s a great place to be. Because of the City Council’s support, we will put the state on notice that we are up to the task of solving problems of statewide significance, and we’re capable of even more.
5. Improving Future Economic Development Efforts
Palm Coast took yet another step in the right direction toward growing job opportunities with our existing businesses and we will have a very powerful story to tell organizations looking to bring new jobs here to be close to our highly educated and qualified healthcare workforce.
6. Investment versus Incentives
The term “incentives” is being used to describe what was needed to make this proposal a reality. But what we are really talking about is an investment. We’re talking about investing in the future of our community by building a strategic partnership with a reputable higher education institution with the goal of significantly improving our community for the future. That is an investment.