The region provides great access to world class higher education institutions. The region is bookended by Florida’s two major Tier 1 Research Universities—the University of Florida and Florida State University—and includes regional access to the University of North Florida and Florida A & M University. These Universities provide world class degree programs and groundbreaking research, product patent and commercialization resources and opportunities, emphasize and support a strong commitment to entrepreneurship and company start-ups, and insure for the region a sustainable, highly trained and skilled workforce talent pool.
Numerous high quality state and private colleges, and community colleges strategically cover the region offering a diversity of two and four year degrees. These institutions have a strong and distinguished history throughout the region and maintain multiple campuses and accessible services in many of the rural counties. Many of these colleges have and do work closely with businesses and companies in the region and have developed targeted two and four-degrees and certification programs designed to meet their current and future workforce/occupational needs including supply chain logistics and distribution, applied welding and heavy machine equipment operations, computer programming and support technicians, and nursing and health care-related support positions, among others.
Taylor Technical Institute and the RIVEROAK Technical College offer post-secondary, adult education, and targeted technical workforce training certifications, many in occupational areas serving targeted industries of the region including manufacturing and advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution, technology and health care, and agriculture-based industries. Strategic linkages and cooperative programs are active throughout the region including two excellent regional education consortiums—the Northeast Florida Education Consortium (NEFEC)— and the Panhandle Area Education Consortium (PAEC). The programs and services offered through NEFEC and PAEC link K-12 with higher education, multiple workforce development services, and the region’s economic development activities to insure that current and future workforce needs are addressed for current and prospective companies.