South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

TEDx is Coming to the Treasure Coast: “Emerge” set to illuminate minds with Ideas, Inspiration, and Innovation

Read Time 3 Minutes

TEDx is coming to the Treasure Coast. . . and we are here for it! TEDXPortSaintLucie announced its highly anticipated event, themed “Emerge.” 

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

TEDxPortSaintLucie will be held Thursday, July 25th, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the River Walk Center located at 600 Indian River Dr, Fort Pierce, FL 34950.

The event is bringing together a diverse lineup of speakers who are poised to share their groundbreaking ideas and stories, inspiring attendees to emerge into new realms of thought and action. This private event, made possible by the generous support of leading organizations, will offer a platform for innovative thinkers to ignite deep discussions and forge meaningful connections, in alignment with the TEDx mission.

The TEDxPortSaintLucie event is proudly sponsored by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, Helping Hands Community of the Treasure Coast Inc, and Minnerly Media. These sponsors exemplify a commitment to fostering community engagement and supporting initiatives that drive positive change.

The event is being held in Fort Pierce, a city in Saint Lucie County. According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Port St. Lucie ranked as the fifth fastest-growing city in the United States for cities with populations over 20,000. The data also shows that between July 2022 to July 2023, the city gained 15,607 people, reaching a population of 911,311.

In a WPBF News Channel 25 interview, Melissa Yunis, spokesperson for the city of Port St. Lucie, said, “It’s affordable to live here, the weather is beautiful, and also we are one of the safest cities in nearly a decade.”

In a statement, the U.S. Census Bureau wrote in part, “The population growth in Florida’s metro areas underscores a larger trend of widespread population growth across the South, the nation’s fastest-growing region.”

The event will feature thought-provoking talks from industry leaders including:

Each year, thousands of independently run TEDx events bring people together to share ideas and bridge divides in communities on every continent. Through the Audacious Project, TED has helped catalyze more than $3 billion in funding for projects that seek to make the world more beautiful, sustainable and just. In 2020, TED launched Countdown, an initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis and mobilize a movement for a net-zero future, and in 2023 TED launched TED Democracy to spark a new kind of conversation focused on realistic pathways towards a more vibrant and equitable future.

“We are thrilled to welcome South Florida Tech Hub to the Treasure Coast,” stated Key McKay, TEDxPortSaintLucie Event Curator. “Their involvement in TEDxPort Saint Lucie will undoubtedly enhance the event, bringing together innovative minds from our community and beyond. We look forward to a successful partnership and an inspiring event.”

This event is priced at $97 and will be invite-only registration. Remaining tickets will be released to the public for purchase on June 16th.

To learn more about TEDxPortSaintLucie “Emerge” event visit or purchase tickets in June, visit www.tedxportsaintlucie.com.

By Nikki Cabus

C3 Complete expands offices to Treasure Coast and Orlando markets

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C3 Complete, a leader in innovative technology and communications solutions, proudly announces its expansion into the Treasure Coast and Greater Orlando areas.

Headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, C3 Complete, is an award winning provider of technology and communications services to small, medium and enterprise businesses globally. Its unique combination of cloud-based technologies and expert onsite and remote support substantially reduces both IT-related capital investments and ongoing management costs. C3’s approach increases stability, tightens security, enhances employee mobility, and ensures business continuity in the event of a disaster. CFOs benefit from C3’s fixed cost approach, while owners and CEOs benefit from the single point of contact for all of their telecommunications and technology needs.

Since the company’s start in 2009, C3 has had consistent growth opening mulitple offices and data centers around the state and across the U.S. The company’s most recent offices are located in Stuart and Orlando, Florida. C3 Complete now has offices in Delray Beach, Miami, Stuart and Orlando and data centers in Miami, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Known as the “Sailfish Capital of The World,” Stuart is located in the quickly growing Treasure Coast region just north of South Florida. The Treasure Coasts consists of St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River counties.

The C3 office is located at Ocean One Stuart, 1 SE Ocean Blvd, Stuart, FL 34994 in the heart of the Treasure Coast, only steps away from the Martin County Courthouse and all the boutiques and restaurants in Historic Downtown Stuart. The recently proposed Brightline Stuart station, expected to open in 2026, will be located in downtown Stuart at 500 S.E. Flagler Avenue on 2.35 acres at 500 S.E. Flagler Avenue, which is situated opposite the Martin County Courthouse and just 2 minutes from the C3 Complete offices.

The most recent Orlando, Florida office is located at 242 Rangeline Rd, Longwood, FL 3275. This office will be staffed by several field service engineers, as well as sales and sales support personnel. In keeping with their “eat our own dogfood” philosophy, many of the technologies and solutions offered through C3 Complete will be available for demonstration to current and prospective clients and partners.

“As C3 Complete’s roster of clients has continued to grow, expanding into the Greater Orlando Market was an obvious progression for us,” commented Rick Mancinelli, CEO of C3 Complete.

“By strategically positioning both technical and sales personnel in-region, our goal is to demonstrate our commitment to providing the highest level of service to our clients in and around the area.”

One of C3’s core value propositions has always been their ability to provide rapid on-site service for managed clients at no additional charge. To learn more about C3, see their office and data center current and future locations, please visit https://c3-complete.com/about-c3-complete/offices/.

By Adam Elitzur

New Leadership at the Helm of South Florida’s Tech Hub

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South Florida Tech Hub is under new board leadership for 2024 with Deana Pizzo, CEO at I.T. Solutions of South Florida, taking over as chair and Grace Kurian, Executive Director at NextEra Energy, as vice chair.

Deana Pizzo has been involved in the tech industry for two decades. “I like to serve for non-profits. And the fact that the South Florida Tech Hub is a non-profit within my industry, I felt it was an organization that I really wanted to be part of. I wanted to help strengthen the tech footprint in South Florida and I felt that the Tech Hub was the best place for me to serve.”

Grace Kurian has been working with NextEra Energy for 22 years, and most recently has been leading the digital journey for the nuclear fleet. “Having grown up in South Florida, I have a passion to see the region grow our technology footprint, so that it continues to be a great place to live and work,” Kurian remarked. “I connected with the South Florida Tech Hub when I served on the board of TechLauderdale. When Tech Hub joined forces to include the entire tri-county area, it was exciting for me both personally and professionally because I lived and worked in Palm Beach, grew up in Fort Lauderdale, and I felt like we were bringing the unique strengths of the tri-county together.”

Pizzo, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of her company, I.T. Solutions of South Florida, has goals to unify the tech community in South Florida. “The primary goal is collaboration,” Pizzo stated. “Right now we are working on taking the three counties, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade and creating a tech sector in the South Florida market. That is something that I want to continue pursuing this year and continue driving home. Collaboration for the tech community within South Florida.”

Kurian strives to expand the technology ecosystem. “I want to make sure that tech executives and professionals feel that South Florida is a great place to attract, develop and grow talent,” Kurian stated. “Florida’s economy is bigger than that of many countries. Our businesses are a vital part of Florida’s economic growth.”

Pizzo and Kurian are both looking forward to the role. “I’m very excited to lead the organization this year,” Pizzo remarked. “I’m very excited that at the helm are three women this year. Nikki, as the CEO, myself as chair and Grace as vice chair. I’m really excited about making a difference for girls in tech this year.”

“I have been in the energy and utility industry for more than two decades, so I’m excited to connect with technology professionals, beyond the energy sector, who are right here in my backyard,” Kurian stated.

Pizzo recognizes challenges that she is determined to overcome this year. “The biggest challenges right now are creating unity within the tech community in South Florida,” Pizzo mentioned. “It can be a little fractured. And this particular organization, the Tech Hub, we don’t want to take over where any other organization is. We want to help bring all of the different organizations together.”

Kurian sees another challenge. “Skill sets are constantly evolving and the programming language I learned when I first started my career after college is not what we need today,” Kurian remarked. “Attracting tech talent, but also keeping those skills fresh so that we are constantly innovating and keeping our skills current is a challenge we have to tackle. But one of our greatest opportunities is that the public and private sector are investing in powering our businesses with AI and the latest technology. So I feel that our trajectory in tech is bright.”

Both see major opportunities in capitalizing on emerging technologies like AI. “Data is king, and how businesses capitalize on that data to make good decisions by leveraging AI, by leveraging technology, which will be the differentiator between good and great businesses,” Kurian noted.

Fostering diversity is also a key focus. The Tech Hub works with organizations to inspire girls to pursue tech careers as early as high school. “We have a really strong women’s group and we foster the collaboration of women within tech,” Pizzo explained.

“I’m really excited that I get to work with two very talented women, Deana and Nikki,” Kurian stated. “I believe that diversity is not just diversity of gender and ethnicity, but diversity of thought. Inspiring more people to pursue careers, and sharing that this is a potential career path for young students who are thinking about where to start is important. I hope that the organization continues to grow, but also continues to diversify as more programs are opened up to students early on. One program that I’m really excited about is that the Tech Hub was a catalyst for bringing to South Florida the Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamp for high school students.”

Pizzo and Kurian have distinctive leadership qualities. “I like to describe them as three tenets: character, commitment, and curiosity,” Kurian shared. “Character is showing up. Commitment is being fully devoted to the organization’s mission and values. And lastly, curiosity is being a continuous learner.”

The Tech Hub has an active year planned under Pizzo and Kurian’s leadership, including the Golden Palms Awards in August and TECHpalooza in December. “We just had our golf tournament, which was a huge success,” Pizzo stated. “We’re really looking forward to Golden Palms. We already have the wheels turning on TECHpalooza and it’s going to be huge. We’re moving it to a new location at the convention center, and it will knock it out of the park this year.”

Pizzo and Kurian offered advice for aspiring technology leaders. “Don’t take no for an answer,” Pizzo stated. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and you can find it. Work hard and be a good person.”

“Be willing to learn and take risks,” Kurian recommended. “Be willing to listen to the ideas of other individuals and have a willingness to experiment and innovate so that we are incrementally finding improvements that will be game changers over time.”

Pizzo envisions a bright future for the Tech Hub. “I see the Tech Hub in a few years as the pivotal go-to tech organization in South Florida that everybody can go to to find tech resources for the whole region. We can get there through collaboration and relationships.”

Kurian is hopeful for the future of the region. “I hope that the businesses that are here today have a bigger footprint in South Florida” Kurian stated. “I also hope that we’ve attracted a wide range of national and international businesses so that South Florida will be synonymous with the Silicon Valley of the South.”

By Nikki Cabus

FIRST Robotics Competition South Florida Regional awards multiple teams with honors & on to World Championship

Read Time 7 Minutes

The FIRST® Robotics Competition South Florida Regional awarded several teams with honors that rewarded design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of STEM, FIRST® Robotics Competition (ages 14-18) teams use sophisticated technology to build and program industrial-sized robots to play an action-packed, alliance-based game on a themed field. With professional mentors and sponsors, students learn engineering and problem-solving skills that they can apply to real-world situations today and in the future. Using Gracious Professionalism, each team creates a team identity, raises funds to meet its goals, and works to promote STEM in their community.

Attended by thousands of fans, families, educators and industry leaders, the regional competition was held at the Broward County Convention Center on March 1st & 2nd. Forty high school teams competed to earn a spot at the FIRST® Championship, to be held April 17-20 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.

With the hope of winning one of the several coveted awards, high school students worked with professional mentors to design and build a robot over a six-week period that solved a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules.

“Each team clearly demonstrated teamwork, professionalism, and strategic thinking in solving the competition’s challenges,” said Sandra Contreras, Regional Director, FIRST ®  South Florida.

“Students, school groups, community members, and professional team mentors filled the stands and helped to bring a level of fun and excitement to the competition. With the sustained support of the South Florida community, this robotics competition will continue to grow and inspire students to study math, science, and engineering.”

“It’s safe to say the South Florida Regional has been upgraded to the status of LEGENDARY because we had 5-game finals (normally 2)!”

Among the many highlights of the competition, the winners of the coveted ‘Impact Award’ were the SigmaC@ts from Dillard High School – Team 108 (cover photo). They have won the wonderful opportunity to go to the World Championshipin Houston, Texas, but now need the community’s help to them get the funds to travel.

The FIRST Impact Award (formerly the Chairman’s Award) is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become science and technology leaders.

The SimgaC@T robotics team was founded in 1995 at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition. As the oldest consecutively running FRC team in Florida, the SigmaC@T Robotics Team has a rich history built on community, equity, and diversity.

CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas is part of the 2024 FIRST IN SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm season. In CRESCENDO, teams are encouraged to see all that is possible when combining their creative ideas and innovations with engineering and design. Through collaboration and communication, the FIRST robotics community around the world will celebrate the role that the arts play in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). Our skills make it possible to create art and experiences that bring us together, entertain us, and move us.

FIRST has a proven impact to significantly improve students’ attitudes towards math, science, and teamwork.

With approximately 40 registered teams from across the county and even some international team, 25 were from South Florida and the Treasure Coast ranging from Miami to Stuart and over to Naples, Florida, there was quite the competition to be had. Ashton Adler, South Florida Tech Hub’s Director of Talnt Engagement, stopped to take photos with some of the local teams including Miami Coral Park Senior High (pictured here) who took home the “Innovation in Control Award.”

Another one of those teams was, S.P.A.M. from Stuart, Florida, who were the Regional Winners (Championship Qualifying Award) and took home the “Quality Award.” The team was sponsored by Florida Power & Light (FPL), one of the competition’s largest supporters each year. This year is FPL’s 12th year as a sponsor and mentor organization.

Zach Dean, the team’s mechanical lead, credits team mentor Elizabeth “Lily” Pawlak for expanding his machine skills and teaching him how to use the power tools and industrial machinery it takes to build the robots. Twelve years ago, Pawlak was a machinist for S.P.A.M. too, participating in the same competitions her mentees are in now and crafting robot parts from scratch. Today, she’s an equipment reliability engineer supporting Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) nuclear fleet.

“I wanted to come back and be a mentor because I want to show them that it’s not just a fun thing to do in high school, that it really can be an opportunity for your future,” Pawlak said. “I’ve taught them basic skills like how to use a tape measure to more advanced skills like how to use a milla lathe and Computer Numerical Control machining.”

One of the main benefits of STEM education is helping students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which they can apply beyond the classroom. It also equips them to succeed in a rapidly changing world driven by technology and innovation.

Pawlak said robotics geared her toward engineering. It also helped her start a career at FPL. 

“I met a lot of incredible people back then, professionals who volunteered their time at these competitions, and I maintained those connections throughout college,” she said. “These connections really make a difference for the children involved. It shows them companies care, that companies are interested in them and that they have a future if they ever want to look forward to career opportunities with them.”

South Florida Tech Hub Board Member, CEO of eSilo, and FIRST judge, Cathy Miron, told Tech Hub, “I was reminded once again why I am passionate about supporting FIRST. This organization not only fosters a love for science, technology and engineering among young minds, but also cultivates essential skills like teamwork, leadership (what FIRST calls Gracious Professionalism), and problem-solving. My involvement with FIRST, which spans three years, has been a journey filled with inspiration and learning.”

Cathy continued reminiscing on this year’s competition, “This year, something that particularly stood out to me were the countless examples of cross-team mentorship that I heard and observed. These are teams who are competing against one another for an opportunity to go to the World Championships in April and represent their schools and communities, and yet I watched kids go out of their way to help their competitors by sharing tools and spare parts, or troubleshooting another team’s robot, or helping fix a bug in their code in between matches.”

“These kids exemplified what FIRST is all about: pushing boundaries, embracing challenges, and working collaboratively to achieve something truly remarkable. Their dedication and spirit were a true highlight of the weekend, and a reminder of the incredible impact FIRST has in shaping our next generation of innovators and leaders.”

Winners of the FIRST Robotics Competition 2024 South Florida Regional Awards include :

  • Regional FIRST Impact Award (Championship Qualifying Award) – 108 SigmaC@T Robotics Team – Dillard High School
  • Regional Engineering Inspiration Award (Championship Qualifying Award) – 3627 The Jungle Robotics – Pine View School
  • FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award – 3390 Can O- ANATOLIAN EAGLEBOTS
  • FIRST Dean’s List Finalist Award – 5472 Derin A – The Wyld Stallyns
  • Regional Winners (Championship Qualifying Award) – 179 Children of the Swamp – Inlet Grove Community High School
  • Regional Winners (Championship Qualifying Award) – 180 S.P.A.M. – Martin County District High Schools
  • Regional Winners – 744 Shark Attack – Westminster Academy
  • Regional Finalists – 2383 Ninjineers – American Heritage
  • Regional Finalists – 5557 BB-R8ERS – Gulliver Preparatory School
  • Regional Finalists – 8817 Buccaneer Robotics – South Dade Senior High School
  • Woodie Flowers Finalist Award – 3627 Andrew Wormington – The Jungle Robotics
  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors – 5557 BB-R8ERS – Gulliver Preparatory School
  • Judges’ Award – 8861 – 06ANGORA – Ambassade de France en Turquie- Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle – Ankara
  • Rookie All Star Award – 9404 Forge – Family/Community
  • Rookie Inspiration Award – 9779 Gladiator Robotics – Hialeah Gardens Sr High School
  • Team Sustainability Award sponsored by Dow – 6317 Disruptive Innovation – West High School
  • Team Spirit Award – 6743 Tiger Engineering – Dunbar High School
  • Excellence in Engineering Award – 179 Children of the Swamp – Inlet Grove Community High School
  • Gracious Professionalism Award – 694 StuyPulse – Stuyvesant High School
  • Creativity Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation – 1744 Robo-Rays Robotics – Seacrest Country Day School
  • Quality Award – 180 S.P.A.M. – Martin County District High Schools
  • Innovation in Control Award – 59 RamTech – Miami Coral Park Sr High School
  • Autonomous Award – 4458 Infernobotix – Center Moriches High School
  • Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen – 1523 MARS (Mega Awesome Robotic Systems) – William T Dwyer High School & Palm Beach Gardens Community HS & Jupiter Community High School
  • Volunteer of the Year – Bill Landin – Lead Robot Inspector
  • Volunteer of the Year – Mark Hamilton – Alumni
  • Volunteer of the Year – Robert Cherinka – Judge

 

Learn more at www.firstinspires.org.

By Nikki Cabus

JA Inspire 2024 inspires middle school students in Palm Beach County

Read Time 4 Minutes

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast holds their annual JA Inspire visiting three different middle schools this year in Palm Beach County. 

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has served 810,727 K-12 students since 1981 throughout Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Hendry counties. The mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy through classroom programs and simulations that focus on financial literacy, workforce readiness, and entrepreneurship.

JA Inspire is more than a career fair. In collaboration with the Palm Beach County School District, the event brings together the business community and local schools and is designed to help launch middle school students into their futures: high school, college and beyond. During the JA Inspire expo which is held in-person within multiple middle schools, students participate in hands-on activities, often experiencing equipemt or tools used on the job. The experience is configurable to align with local industry and career opportunities based on the four competencies: creativity, collaboration, commuication, and critical thinking.

This year’s JA Inspire Palm Beach County ‘s 2024 events were held at the following middle schools:

Local companies have the chance to showcase their industry passion, career opportunities, engage with students through hands-on activities, and make a lasting impression on the future workforce of Palm Beach County. On the other hand, students get to connect with professionals from some of the region’s most prominent employers, explore career pathways and learn about the skills needed for in-demand jobs, explore their own interests with a variety of career opportunities, and strengthen their coursework pathway for high school and beyond.

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast had a goal of impacting 8,600 students in the 2022 – 2023 school year. With support from organizations such as the Glenn W. Bailey Foundation and Wells Fargo, they were able to serve over 146,000 students overall! Over 98,600 students alone were reached through just three programs: JA Inspire, JA Career Speaker Series, and JA High School programs.

“I’m so happy for Junior Achievement [of the Palm Beach & Treasure Coast]. They always have the forsight to make sure they are in the schools making sure students knew all of the things they have needed to know as related to careers, academics, and relationships,” said Marcia Andrews, Palm Beach County School District Board Member.

She added, “When you begin to learn you need to kind of connect the careers with all the things you are learning in math, science, and technology.”

From the marine industry to healthcare and technology, multiple industries were represented. Volunteers gave their time to showcase the career opportunities, advancements in their fields, and the impact you could make in your local communities. One of those volunteers was John Riley III, Co-Founder of AVA Intelligence, South Florida Tech Hub member, Levan Center Cyber Range sales director, and loyal JA volunteer.

“I would like to give a big thank you to Lauren Henderson of Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast for the invitation to participate in another remarkable event for their JA Inspire program,” wrote John in a social media post. “Interacting with the students and addressing their technology questions was a truly rewarding experience.”

Dr. Eugina Smith Feaman, Principal at Emerald Cove Middle School in Wellington, shared “This is a preview for their future. This is an opportunity for them to dip their toe into different careers and different opportunities that they have for their future.

If you are interested in taking part in JA Inspire or future Junior Achievement volunteer opportunities, please visit www.palmbeachtreasurecoast.ja.org for more info on events, donation and speaking opportunities.

 

By Nikki Cabus

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Award of $4 Million to Indian River State College to Create Advanced Technology Workforce

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Governor Ron Desantis visited Indian River State College on February 7th to announce a $4 million award to further advanced technology programs. 

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.

Nearly 200 people were in attendance at the brand new IRSC’s Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex located on the Massey Campus in Ft. Pierce when the Governor announced the $4 million award. The funds will be used to create advanced technology workforce development programs and build an innovative Center of Ballistics and Emerging Technology.

The funding is through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund (JGGF) which makes strategic investments in programs that build stronger communities and support workforce training across the state. The JGGF is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by FloridaCommerce and chosen by the Governor to meet the demand for workforce or infrastructure needs in the community they are awarded to. The Fund allocated $40 million and awarded 20 projects in fiscal year 2021-2022 and 18 in fiscal year 2022-2023.

“We see an opportunity to use the job growth grant to really make an impact not just with workforce, but also for the economy here on the Treasure Coast of Florida,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

“So I am today pleased to be able to award a $4 million grant through the job growth grant fund to Indian River State College to create a new center for ballistics and emerging technology.”

The Center for Ballistics and Emerging Technology will serve as the nexus where industry partners, law enforcement agents, workforce training professionals, and Indian River State College students and faculty collaborate. The project plans to create more than 300 new advanced manufacturing-trained graduates over the next ten years.

The project underscores Indian River State College’s vision to provide development and testing to support business and innovation. This project will allow the College to expand its training in advanced manufacturing, particularly in precision fabrication and mechatronics. The project complements the programs and facilities of the Eastman Advanced Manufacturing Building and the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex.

The 60,000-square-foot Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex is Florida’s newest, most technologically advanced workforce training facility. The official ribbon cutting was held last Fall on November 1, 2023 with over 400 in attendance from elected officials to professionals in the local community.

Expansive laboratories dedicated to Mechatronics, Robotics and Smart Automation, Welding, Automotive Technology, Refrigeration, HVAC, and more are carefully designed and outfitted to support students as they earn certifications and degrees in programs that help satisfy the region’s growing need for a highly skilled talent pipeline. Students train in immersive educational environments with a network of experienced instructors, utilizing best-in-class technology as they build the critical skills required for rewarding careers in high-demand occupations.

“The manufacturing industry in America is growing rapidly, and Florida, in particular, is home to an expanding manufacturing ecosystem,” said Indian River State College President Dr. Timothy Moore. “With the opening of our Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex, Indian River State College is poised to deliver a talent pipeline that meets the workforce needs of today and tomorrow, bolstering our region’s economy and attractiveness to employers, expanding career opportunities for our citizens, and helping realize Governor Ron DeSantis’s goal to be the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030.”

“This grant will help take technology off the shelf, put it to use, and help those who protect us,” said Indian River State College President Dr. Timothy Moore. “The Governor’s support has been instrumental. I cannot think of a more important way to demonstrate the value of education, the value of technology, and the value of leadership.”

The site is also home to and informed by the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, a collaborative effort to address the looming shortage of local workforce in precision machining, industrial automation systems, integrated smart factory operations, supply chain automation and logistics. The Hub offers a broad range of programs introducing critical knowledge and hands-on skills in areas enabling the growth and automation of Industry 4.0.—the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing industry in America is growing at a rapid rate. Florida is home to an expanding manufacturing ecosystem. Over 24,000 manufacturers support 426,000 manufacturing jobs with average salaries of $74,575. According to the Florida Commerce 2023 Florida Manufacturing Report, “Florida’s manufacturing employment reached 422,800 in September 2023, passing both Georgia and New York to become the 10th largest state in the country for manufacturing employment. Manufacturing employment has grown by 23.3% since 2014, again significantly higher than other leading manufacturing states.”

As manufacturing jobs continue to be reshored to the United States from global markets, Florida is poised to become one of the top five manufacturing states by 2030. In 2019, Governor DeSantis set a clear goal that Florida would be #1 in workforce education by 2030. IRSC President, Dr. Moore, intends to make that happen!

Learn more at www.irsc.edu.

 

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

JA raises over $120k for student programs in Palm Beach & Treasure Coast regions

Read Time 3 Minutes

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast held their 10th Annual JA Caribbean Wind raising over $120k for student programs. 

The fundraiser, in partnership with the Esther B. O’Keeffe Charitable Trust, took place the evening of October 14th outside at Safe Harbor Rybovich in West Palm Beach. Guest enjoyed Caribbean cuisine, cocktails, hand-rolled cigars, live reggae music by Clement Aubrey and One Tribe surrounded by yachts up to 100 meters in length.

With 200 people in attendance from nonprofit leaders to local executives and featuring over $28k in incredible silent auctions to bid on, the fundraiser raised over $120k in support of student programming across Palm Beach County and into the Treasure Coast.

The evening was co-chaired by Deana Pizzo of I.T. Solutions of South Florida and David Markarian of The Markarian Group. Committee members included Rikki and Stu Bagatell; Shannon and Brad Ball; Kathy and Jon Burstein; Allison and Trey Fogg; Alyssa Freeman; Teresa Heine; Dena and Dennis Kennedy; LeeAnne and Joe LaBanz; Al Loureiro; Sonali and Neeraj Mendiratta; Melissa Nash; Sophia A. Nelson; and Josh Vandagriff.

Claudia Kirk Barto, JA Palm Beach & Treasure Coast CEO, told Tech Hub, “We couldn’t have done it without our awesome committee chaired by Deana Pizzo and Dave Markarian!”

Junior Achievement (JA) programs span grades K-12, with age-appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle grade and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face.

Too many children don’t have access to education crucial for their future success such as personal financial responsibility, budgeting, critical thinking, and career readiness. JA exists so that all kids, regardless of background, receive the tools they need to build a future for themselves in which they are optimistic, economically self-sufficient, and determined, with a belief in the power of free enterprise.

JA offers a multidisciplinary approach that connects learning across social studies disciplines, such as economics, geography, history, government, civics, while incorporating mathematical concepts and reasoning/language arts skills. JA believes that creating foundations that build upon each other over time is the key to having graduates go on feeling really prepared for handling financial matters as adults.

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast will inspire and prepare their ONE MILLIONTH student this coming school year through financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness programs.

Educational materials are used in all grade levels and are available for free to all public schools, due to the community’s support. Since the pandemic, impact has surged from 20-30,000 students per year to over 146,000 students served this past year throughout Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Hendry counties. Funds are needed to cover the cost of program curriculum and materials.

Check out the full photo album here. Donations to help support our students can also be made here: https://tinyurl.com/JADonation

 

By Nikki Cabus

FPL’s Classroom Makeover Grant Program helps underserved classroom access STEM education across Florida

Read Time 4 Minutes

Florida Power & Light‘s Classroom Makeover Grant Program has transformed another five classroom across the state of Florida. 

As part of a $1 million, 4-year commitment from its charitable arm, the NextEra Energy Foundation, works to advance STEM curriculum, increase the exposure of Black students to STEM education and jumpstart students’ interest in STEM careers. Each year through 2024, five schools are selected in FPL’s service area to receive the $50,000 grant.

The grants are intended to provide transformational learning opportunities for Black students in classroom settings, as all recipient schools are comprised of at least 25% Black students. The Classroom Makeover Grant program and funds are available to directly addresses needs in infrastructure, technology or resources (i.e., software, equipment, books, training of teachers, tutors, paraprofessionals).

“Our STEM Classroom Makeover Grant allows us to invest in our next generation to help provide transformational learning opportunities for Black students in a STEM classroom setting,” said Pamela Rauch, Vice President of External Affairs & Economic Development for FPL, in a previous interview.

“We are excited that these projects will be one of the first, as we complete our inaugural year of implementing this grant, which allows us to support both educators and students, our next generation of leaders.”

Congratulations to this year’s 2022-2023 winning classrooms in Florida:

FPL’s five classroom makeover grant recipients in Florida for the 2022 inaugural year were:

Cypress Run Education Center School, an alternative school in Broward County, invested in a multimedia technology lab, web design programs, TV production arrangements, coding software, robotics education and Microsoft certifications. South Florida Tech Hub had the honor of being invited to their most recent student Hackathon hosted by STEM teacher, Ms. Osas Guis-Obaseki and Principal Harrigan.

Ms. Osas has spearheaded a STEM Club that meets biweekly to expose students to programming and the computer science field. She has given students the opportunity to to build computers, learn coding and programming, and gain skills using digital tools. Ms. O hosts quarterly Hackathons where students demonstrate their coding skills and compete with other students.

Under her leadership, students have complete the Microsoft certifications in HTML and CSS Programming, Website Design, and MS Office. She has also been able to collaborate with additional industry partners such as CloudHesive, Oracle, ReGenerate Tech, and many more.

Ms. Osas got in touch with South Florida Tech Hub in 2022 as a volunteer at the annual TECHpalooza in Broward County where she also brought students to educate them on the importance of networking, giving back and getting exposure to tech professionals in South Florida.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Riviera Beach was also one of five schools in Florida to be awarded a Classroom Makeover Grant from FPL last year to advance STEM curriculum, increase the exposure of Black students to STEM education and jumpstart students’ interest in STEM careers. The $50,000 grant that the school received supported a variety of professional education resources, including computers, robot lab packs, aerodynamics sets, and renewable energy education kits. See the full WPTV update here.

“As a Title 1 school with a 98% Black population, we are committed to providing children of color with vast learning opportunities and exposure to STEM education and careers,” Katrina W. Granger, the principal at Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, said.

“We are so appreciative of FPL’s commitment to diversity in STEM, which has made the vision of hardworking and inspiring STEM educator with big dreams, Tracy Howard, come to fruition. This grant will support both Mrs. Howard and her scholars achieve their greatest dream.”

This grant is open to all public, private and charter schools and all grade levels in FPL’s service area in Florida. Grants are also available to schools in areas served by FPL’s sister company NextEra Energy Resources. As with all foundation grants, no customer dollars are involved.

Schools can apply now for the next grant cycle. Applications are now open and will close October 15, 2023! 

  Read more

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JA raises over $120k for student programs in Palm Beach & Treasure Coast regions
FPL’s Classroom Makeover Grant Program helps underserved classroom access STEM education across Florida