President Wilson G. Bradshaw on Thursday attended the Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee to be the first university to accept Gov. Rick Scott’s “Ready, Set, Work” challenge and announce a new initiative that will attract, retain and reward students for graduating in four years and securing employment.
Florida Gulf Coast University was the first of the 12 universities in the State University System to accept Scott’s challenge to achieve 100 percent employment within a year of graduation for each school’s two most popular degree programs.
During the meeting, President Bradshaw outlined FGCU’s efforts to meet the challenge. The plan entails specialized career counseling for incoming freshmen to help them choose a course of study that will prepare them for work, and uses a cutting-edge web-based management system to ensure their success.
FGCU’s new challenge will offer students the opportunity to receive a rebate of the tuition they paid in their freshman year if they stay at FGCU, graduate in four years or less and obtain a job within six months of graduation.
“This will save them money and provide them with some much needed startup funds as they begin their journey on the path to a successful career as contributing members of the great state of Florida,” Bradshaw said. “We consistently place among the leaders in the State University System in the percentage of FGCU graduates who are employed in Florida upon graduation. I am pleased to note that they stay in Florida for the long term.”
Scott invited the university presidents to the Florida Cabinet meeting to present their ideas on how they would meet his challenge.
Although FGCU aspires to 100 percent job attainment for all majors, its focus for “Ready, Set, Work” will be on Communication and Management degrees, which currently achieve 70-75% employment upon graduation, according to Bradshaw.
“We at FGCU are proud to accept your challenge,” he said. “We have been building the foundation through increased career counseling, internships and a recently introduced co-op education program. These are experiences that connect the classroom with the world of work.”
Furthermore, the university will challenge students to choose an appropriate major, utilize career services offered and take advantage of work opportunities available while at FGCU.
Bradshaw said he will identify private funds through the FGCU Foundation to support the new initiative.