SOURCE: Palm Coast Observer
In case you missed it, Tuesday, Dec. 15, was a historic day for the citizens of Palm Coast and Flagler County.
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 investing a total of $2.5 million to make the vision a reality. Welcoming Jacksonville University to Palm Coast was yet another step in the right direction for our region. Here’s why:
1. Cementing MedNex’s future and supporting Town Center
Under Mayor Milissa Holland’s leadership, with the support of Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Paul Renner, Palm Coast has effectively created a higher education trifecta in Flagler County. Along with Daytona State College, we will soon enjoy the benefits of a physical presence by the University of North Florida and now Jacksonville University in Palm Coast. This is a game changer and will make a lasting difference in this community for years to come. Furthermore, JU is working with Douglas Property and Development to locate their facility in the heart of Town Center, achieving a long sought-after vision for the future of our region. The exciting part is this is just the beginning.
2. Workforce development
Palm Coast/Flagler County residents now have a pathway to educate a young person from pre-K to masters-level health care professional without them having to leave Flagler County. This directly addresses the community’s concern about our young, talented future leaders leaving our community. We will also supply existing healthcare organizations with high-quality talent and attract new businesses and investors solely because the talent is already located 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 JU proposal gives us an answer to the question “will we have enough health care professionals to care for the future growth in our senior citizen population?” With this approval, the answer is “yes.”
4. Shortage of health care 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. Our community is now an answer to that problem. 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.
In closing, Mayor Milissa Holland and City Council members Eddie Branquinho and Nick Klufas made the best decision for the future of our region by investing in the JU proposal. Please take a moment to thank them. We are now building strategic partnerships with multiple reputable higher education institutions with the goal of significantly improving our community for years to come.
Greg Blosé is president and CEO of the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber.