Friday, April 8, 2011

More Graduates In Florida Are Completing STEM Degrees

By Michelle Conner

When many people think of Florida, they might think oranges, beaches and warm temperatures throughout the year. The state itself is spending millions of dollars to woo companies that some say could produce thousands of jobs having to do with breakthrough discoveries in agriculture, health care, the environment, food and more. On campus at the state's universities, STEM degree programs are being added and campuses to some extent expanded.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The State University System announced a New Florida Initiative that would put $1.75 billion over the course of five years toward STEM degree efforts and produce graduates who could help improve business, health care, development and education. The plan is to help Florida enhance a globally competitive "knowledge and innovation" economy that's sustainable, the Initiative website suggests. Searching for additional sources of information about degree in science will be to your benefit.

Florida isn't alone in its efforts to lure biotechs, according to a June 2010 Palm Beach Post article on The state is, however, already home to a growing number of biotechs in the Tampa and Palm Beach County areas alone. The New Florida Initiative would in part align state colleges and universities with new and existing firms where STEM degree students might carry out research and ultimately find work. A January 2010 Initiative report pointed toward "knowledge economy" college towns such as those in North Carolina, where a declining agricultural economy was reshaped by strategic alliances and investments, and Ann Arbor, Mich., where a state university employs 30,000 people and the economy is becoming more high-tech.

On Florida's west coast, a private, non-profit organization that conducts health care research and produces genetically engineered mice is working with a STEM degree-offering university to find an alternative location to its initial $260 million-plus choice in Collier County. With the university, Maine-based Jackson Laboratory is looking in the Tampa-Sarasota area. Scripps Research Institute went through a similar process in Palm Beach County before the New Florida Initiative was established and before it established a site near another public university that's part of the Initiative.

In 2005, Palm Beach County had spent some $151 million on a 1,919-acre site that was to serve as a research park, with Scripps Research Institute, its anchor, according to a Palm Beach Post article. Environmentalists, however, sued, a Palm Beach Post article suggested. The property, a former citrus grove west of Palm Beach Gardens, cost $60 million and now has the county facing a $6.5 million annual debt, according to the article. Scripps, meanwhile, settled in among 30 acres in a community in the town of Jupiter that the US Environmental Protection Agency considers "Smart Growth."

Abacoa, as this community is known, is a community of residences and businesses that's linked in many places by recreational paths and that, according to the EPA, takes pressure off the Everglades. In addition to the STEM degree-offering public university campus here, Germany's Max Planck Society is joining Scripps, and Scripps itself has created a spin-off company known as cuRNA. By 2015, Scripps expects that its employees are to grow to 545, an article in the Palm Beach Post suggested. There are 70 acres on an adjacent piece of property on which Scripps can expand, the research institute's website shows. You may want to search the internet for more information about online school.

The Tampa university already has established partnerships with research facilities in St. Petersburg and in Tampa outside of its campus. On campus, the university has broken ground on an 87-acre research park, where the first phase is expected to cost $40 million, the institution's website suggests. The park would serve as a hub in the area for research in STEM degree and entrepreneurship subjects, its website suggests.

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