New five-year strategic plan emphasizes county’s workforce needs
Lake Worth, FL - by Joyce Edelstein - Building on a foundation as Palm Beach County’s largest institution of higher education, Palm Beach State College has launched Panther Strong 2023, a new five-year strategic plan that sets an aggressive goal of being a nationally recognized leader in advancing student success.
For almost 85 years, Palm Beach State has served the needs of the county, providing high-quality, accessible and affordable degrees and certificates, as well as workforce development and lifelong learning. Looking forward, the College has crafted a new strategic plan informed by the county’s current and projected high growth rate, the dynamic shifts occurring in the economy at large, and the challenges of ensuring that students are best prepared to take advantage of new and rewarding career opportunities.
“Technology innovation, automation, globalization, digitization and disruptive technologies will lead to the development of new jobs and a shift in the skills and competencies required for existing jobs here in our county,” said Ava L. Parker, J.D., president of Palm Beach State College. “Our five-year strategic plan is designed to prepare for these shifts and help us to improve in an accelerated way to meet the changing workforce needs of our public and private business partners.”
“Inspiring Hope, Advancing Skills, Transforming Lives” is the newly adopted mantra, which captures the essence of the Panther Strong 2023 commitments. The mantra was born out of the mission to provide student-centered learning experiences that transform lives and strengthen the community. With the jobless rate at a 12-year low, and baby boomers retiring in droves, the county faces both a short- and long-term labor shortage, especially in middle-skill workers. Palm Beach State has initiated specific strategies to strengthen community connections, evaluate and align offerings to meet workforce needs, and attract, retain and graduate students in accelerated ways so that they can enter the workforce sooner, advance their careers, and increase their earning potential.
“Seventy-two percent of our students are part-timers who typically take a few classes on their way to earning an A.S., A.A. or bachelor’s degree,” Parker added. “We also are the primary resource that county businesses go to for qualified middle-skill workers to meet their growing demands. Therefore, we have unique challenges in recruiting, retaining and graduating students at the rate the market requires. Our strategic plan is designed to help us meet those challenges head on and to conquer them successfully.”
Success will be monitored and measured against specific outcomes aligned around goals, such as to build stakeholder relationships, grow enrollment, and boost retention and completion rates. Improvements in instructional excellence, campus infrastructure, and technology to enhance the student experience also will be measured. Ultimately, PBSC strives to be a winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which would establish the College as an innovative leader in academics on the national stage.
“We want everyone in Palm Beach County to know the significant role our institution plays in the lives of our residents, community, workforce and economy,” Parker said. “We embrace it and are committed to playing our role with excellence.”
For more information on Panther Strong 2023, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/IRE/StrategicPlanning .