For Florida, talent remains the currency of workforce development and a thriving economy. As our state continues to grow and continues to battle the impact of COVID, ensuring Florida students are prepared for critical jobs is key to recovery and continued economic development. Keizer University and other ICUF schools have a proven track record of playing a vital role in Florida’s economic growth for approximately 100 years. Serving Florida and the businesses that call it home, these schools are leaders in providing the talented workforce essential to our economy.
This commitment has never been more evident than during the COVID pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, students and alumni of Keizer University, as well as other ICUF schools, have been actively involved in the fight against COVID. Since the pandemic began, students and graduates of Keizer University in most major Florida communities have joined those of Saint Leo University, Barry University, University of Miami and others. on the front lines of the recovery to meet the needs of Floridians by providing testing, vaccinations, counseling, telemedicine and other essential services.
A recent report from the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida projects that our state will face a shortage of approximately 60,000 nurses by 2035. ICUF schools are working diligently with leaders in state and hospital systems across Florida to fill this gap. Seventeen ICUF schools, many with multiple campuses, offer nursing degrees and are responsible for educating half of the state’s registered nurses. Keizer University was the first producer of nurses in Florida to pass the NCLEX in 2020 and, along with several other independent universities, serves the critical employment needs of hospitals and health care providers across the country. State.
ICUF schools are also well known for their innovation and use of technology that drives Florida’s economy forward. ICUF schools produce some of the best talent in the state in aerospace and engineering, information technology, research and development, and STEM advancements. As the needs of Florida employers grow, ICUF graduates continue to step up to meet these challenges.
More than 50 percent of ICUF’s undergraduate students are from minority populations, and many come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds; many work full time while pursuing their college education. Keizer University was recently recognized for its longstanding commitment to helping students build careers when it was named #1 in social mobility in Florida and #5 in the nation, by US News and World Report.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce has referenced the importance of a highly skilled workforce as one of the factors that will continue to drive the state’s economic future. Considering that ICUF schools award 20% of all bachelor’s degrees in Florida, the EASE grant remains crucial to the development of our state’s economic success.
ICUF schools and our graduates have proven their unwavering commitment to Florida. These students stay in Florida and become contributing members of their communities and our growing economy. Please continue to support ICUF students by supporting the EASE grant and encourage your legislators to continue funding this essential program.
Belinda Keizer is Vice-Chancellor of Keizer University.