More than 50 business, community and education leaders from Bradford County and the surrounding areas recently gathered for breakfast and a keynote address with noted emerging technologies forecaster Jim Brazell.
The workshop entitled Focusing on the Future: Emerging Technologies, Jobs and Our Community was held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. May 13 at the Governor Charley E. Johns Conference Center in Starke.
Featured guest speakers included Santa Fe College interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Ed Bonahue; Beth Moore, superintendent of Bradford County Public Schools and Randy Starling, director of the Bradford-Union Area Career and Technical Center.
Brazell, a leading technology strategist focusing on 21st century themes and opportunities, discussed the importance of embracing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculums in order to increase higher achievement rates for Career and Technical Education programs and to prepare students for jobs of the future.
“The project based learning approach is the shift in what’s happening in the schools,” Brazell said. “The shift in education is to put students into the environment – learning by doing.”
Although workforce education and emerging technologies were the focus of his address, Brazell discussed a key concern for many Bradford County residents — increasing economic development for the region.
He said Bradford County should lure other business as well as expand strong existing bases, such as agriculture, by linking with rapidly emerging sectors like biotechnology.
“The next generation of economic development is about growing what you have,” Brazell said.
The event was sponsored by Santa Fe College, SF Andrews Center, Workforce Development, Bradford Union-Area Career Technical Center and the North Florida Council for Economic Development.
The program was followed by a working lunch with key community policy makers.
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