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By Nikki Cabus

Indian River State College Promise Program Renewed for Third Year

Read Time 3 Minutes

A unanimous vote by the IRSC Foundation Board to renew the IRSC Promise program means students graduating in 2024 from in-district public and public charter high schools and eligible in-district homeschool graduates can earn tuition-free Associate degrees from Indian River State College.

Approved for a third year, the IRSC Promise Program has correlated to a dramatic increase in college-going among local high school graduates with greater numbers of Hispanic, first-generation and male students entering the College—impressive statistics that far exceed or buck national trends.

The IRSC Promise Program, sponsored by the IRSC Foundation, represents the College’s commitment to serve our students and community. The College, its faculty and staff, believe that the cost of tuition should never prevent students from pursuing their personal and academic goals.

The Program will provide a tuition-free Associate Degree to every qualifying graduate from Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie county public or public charter high schools and eligible in-district homeschool graduates.

“Over the past two years, more than 4,300 first-time-in-college students entered Indian River State College through the IRSC Promise program,” shares Vice President for Student Success Elizabeth Gaskin.

“The program is a game-changer for so many families in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie communities, and we are grateful for the leadership, support and vision of the IRSC Foundation Board in moving Promise forward for another year.”

A leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College transforms lives by offering high-quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Florida’s Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. IRSC is a recipient of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The College serves nearly 22,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates and applied technology diplomas.

Credited chiefly to the success of the IRSC Promise program, overall enrollment for Indian River State College continues to climb. Last year, when the College introduced its first Promise cohort, Indian River State College welcomed the largest first-year class in its more than 60-year history; overall enrollment increased by nearly +9%. This fall, the College has more first-time-in-college students than ever, and enrollment continues to accelerate, to date an increase of +6% over last fall.

The IRSC Promise program is not a grant or scholarship. It is a tuition-paid program sponsored by the IRSC Foundation and funded through generous donor philanthropy and unrestricted investment proceeds.

“Since its inception in 2022, the Indian River State College Promise Program has proven to be one of the most successful investments the IRSC Foundation has made to quickly and dramatically remove barriers to higher education,” said IRSC Foundation Board Chair Bill Marine. “We are proud to support a new year of funding to help provide tuition-free Associate degrees for a new generation of high school graduates.”

Eligible students can pledge the IRSC Promise at promise.irsc.edu beginning January 24, 2024. The pledge deadline is May 24, 2024.

For more information, visit https://promise.irsc.edu or email promise@irsc.edu

By Nikki Cabus

Tech Hub hosts first ever event in the Treasure Coast with Jensen Beach Technologies

Read Time 4 Minutes

South Florida Tech Hub held our first event in the Treasure Coast – and it was amazing!

With Tech Hub supporting the Miami Metro region (Miami, Broward and Palm Beach counties) for almost 30 years now, we weren’t quite sure what to expect when we held our first event in Martin County. We kept hearing rumblings of technology startups, a research park, biotech spaces, and the local college doing some great work in the Treasure Coast (Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties). Then, we heard about more and more of our founders buying homes and businesses opening up north. So we decided to take a peek.

According to World Population Review, Port St. Lucie is in the top ten largest cities in the state of Florida coming in at number six. Of course, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are up there too, but Port St. Lucie had the largest increase in population over the last two years. The once under-the-radar city isn’t so much any more these days.

Our first event in the Treasure Coast was sponsored by the newly rebranded Jensen Beach Technologies (formerly GMS East) who’s office was literally located just across the street in the technology center. They company has dependable rugged manufacturing experience; from rackmount to small form factor servers, their rugged industrial and commercial servers and display systems are rooted in patented technologies, innovative designs and proven manufacturing protocols. Scott Kaplan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Jensen Beach Technologies was there to greet everyone.

The modern Jensen Beach Tech Center facilities serve as the focal point in the middle of the Jensen Beach Technology Campus. The technology campus is home for tech-centric businesses and an offers an educational curriculum that serves as the epicenter for advanced technology development in Florida’s Treasure Coast. The Tech Campus is home to both residential, retail, hospitality, and commercial businesses.

The happy hour was held at the brand new Circa69 America Gastro Pub in Jensen Beach right across from the water. The location is beautiful, the staff was so friendly, and the food and drinks were delicious. A big shoutout to Jacob DiBiasio, Business Data Analyst at Kyle G’s Restaurants who was our host and even donated bottles of wine and a gift card to our raffle.

The event attracted almost fifty attendees from across four different counties including Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and yes, even Broward! Those in attendance ranged from startup founders, technology leaders, nonprofit executives and even technology students. Some of those organizations in attendance were Indian River State College, 365 Data Centers, Crescent Solutions, Lifescale Analytics, Junior Achievement Palm Beach & Treasure Coast, Crown Castle, Sloane Staffing, Start Martin County Chamber of Commerce, AVA Intelligence, IT News and Events, WaveFront Consulting, Gather Zen, LLC and so many others.

So many technology leaders who live and work in the Treasure Coast all had conversations around what’s being built, the opportunities ahead of them, and how we can begin coming together to hep support real tech innovation and connection in the area.

Those conversations included current Claudio Kirk Barto, CEO of Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast,  about the need for more STEM-related industry engagement for k-12 students and the connection to higher education institutions with technical degrees. Indian River State College is stepping up to the plate. Amy Pearlstine, Membership Director at Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce, also talked about the growth of the chamber which is the region’s largest chamber with over 1300 individual members.

“It is only fitting that Indian River State College, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education and host of multiple National Science Foundation centers focused on expanding laser, optics, photonics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy workforces would join the Tech Hub as it moves north into Florida’s Treasure Coast,” says IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore.

“We look forward to touring this esteemed group through the Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex—Florida’s most technologically advanced workforce training center—when it opens on our Fort Pierce campus this fall and to forging new partnerships and collaborations that support the growth of Florida’s tech workforce pipeline.”

Thank you to all who attended our first event in the Treasure Coast. Stay tuned for more to come. Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

Indian River State College Promise Program Renewed for Third Year
Tech Hub hosts first ever event in the Treasure Coast with Jensen Beach Technologies