The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County organized an informational seminar April 18 for leaders of academic institutions to learn about the hiring needs and requirements of growing healthcare, logistics employment and manufacturing businesses within the county.
Titled the “Academic Leaders Council,” the morning program was moderated by BDB President Kelly Smallridge with assistance from Shereena Coleman, BDB VP of Existing Industry. The newly renovated headquarters of the BDB Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, FL., served as the event venue.
Representatives from academia included Lynn University President Dr. Kevin Ross; Dr. John Kelly, President of Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Bill Fleming, President of Palm Beach Atlantic University; Ava Parker, President of Palm Beach State College; Deputy Superintendant Dr. David Christiansen of the School District of Palm Beach County and other educators.
The business leaders participating in the roundtable discussion about the logistics industry included WDSrx President Adam Runsdorf; Barbara Miedema, VP Public Affairs for the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida; Florida Crystals Project Manager Caroline Villanueva and Warren Newell, Director of Development for Cheney Brothers.
Participants stressed that existing educational curricula must keep pace with evolving employment requirements. Newell mentioned that technicians are needed who are certified to work with ammonia refrigerants in addition to conventional Freon. Villanueva and Miedema stressed that multiple career paths exist for graduates seeking employment in the modern agricultural industry. Engineers, research scientists, supply chain technicians, food scientists and others are in demand. The clean environment, high-value product and cutting-edge technology attract job-seekers to WDSrx in particular and the pharmaceutical distribution and logistics industry in general, according to Runsdorf.
Business leaders and educators agreed to develop the frequency and quality of dialogue between parties. Better communication fosters ideas and enhances the talent pipeline from premier local educational institutions directly to the innovative and expanding logistics businesses located within Palm Beach County.