Campus & Community

Parker talks the state of higher education to Leadership Engage class

More than 50 members of Leadership Palm Beach County’s Engage Class of 2023 learned more about higher education during a visit to Palm Beach State College’s Belle Glade campus on Jan. 11 as part of their Education Day.

PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D. delivered the keynote address on “The State of Higher Education in Palm Beach County” and welcomed guests at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center, based at the campus.

Parker talked about PBSC’s facts, history, partnerships, programs of study and how the College is positioned to prepare students for emerging STEM careers. She stated that nationally the bulk of U.S. job gains will be in STEM occupations and shared statistics how wages for people who earn a postsecondary degree are higher.

She also noted that Palm Beach County will soon have seven higher education institutions with the newest being the University of Florida. The reason for the addition was because the county’s financial services industry was looking to hire more people who had master’s and doctorate degrees and wanted those individuals to come from one of the highest-ranking public universities in the state.

“I think this will create the types of partnerships that will be good for us,” said Parker, who has been a member of Leadership Tallahassee and Leadership Florida. “We should embrace this as a way to expand the knowledge base within our community.”

Parker highlighted a trip she took to Nashville with other members of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County to meet with business leaders and explore what makes Nashville special.

“What I think is interesting is within that (Nashville) community, there are 30 higher learning institutions,” said Parker, who also held a question-and-answer session with members after the presentation. “This gives you a different approach that a community similar in size to us has taken when it deals with post high school credentials.”

The class also had an opportunity to participate in an interactive activity (pictures below) with local community agencies that have specific initiatives for the Glades community.

“It was exciting to have the LPBC Engage Class of 2023 visit PBSC,” said LaTanya McNeal, Ed.D., executive dean of the Belle Glade campus and an alumna of the LPBC Engage Class of 2022.

“The participants were elated to hear about PBSC’s mission, vision, STEM initiatives and the college’s connectivity to the current workforce and future endeavors.”

The 2023 Leadership Engage class, which includes Kimberly Lancaster, dean of academic affairs at the Loxahatchee Groves and Belle Glade campuses, is made up of a group of motivated, informed and diverse professionals who are selected for their leadership and service within Palm Beach County and beyond.

Participants meet for one full day each month, from September to May, and travel as a group on a bus to all parts of the county as they explore program topics such as agriculture, public safety and healthcare.

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