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- 2011 - March - 11th -

UNF launches banner centers

The University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education was awarded two $500,000 contracts by Workforce Florida Inc. to launch two Employ Florida Banner Centers.

UNF will run the Employ Florida Banner Center for Creative Industries and the Employ Florida Banner Center for Financial and Professional Services.

The university is eligible to receive another $1 million for both centers over the next three years. UNF is the first institution to launch two centers simultaneously.

UNF said in a news release that the centers are designed as statewide talent resources to any business in Florida.

It said that Workforce Florida developed the concept in response to the “Roadmap to Florida’s Future” strategic plan for economic development by Enterprise Florida.

Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership that operates as Florida’s primary organization for statewide economic development.

“We want our two Banner Centers to become the statewide, go-to resource for cutting-edge training for entry-level and experienced workers who need to upgrade their skills in the areas of creative industries as well as financial and professional services,” said Robert Wood, dean of UNF’s Division of Continuing Education, in a statement.

Labor market statistics show that more than 70 percent of Florida’s current labor force will still be in the state’s work force in 12 years, meaning that skills upgrade training is considered critical, said UNF.

Including the two centers at UNF, there are 13 current and planned centers across the state. They focus on advanced manufacturing; agriscience; aviation and aerospace; clean energy; construction; energy; global logistics; homeland security and defense; life sciences; secondary career academies; and water resources.

UNF said its centers are the only ones offering work force development in creative industries as well as financial and professional services.

Banner Centers partner with industry in targeted sectors to identify training needs. A key objective is to create relevant training that can be shared across multiple educational institutions for access by businesses in other areas of the state, reducing duplication.

Philip Green, state director of the Banner Center for Creative Industries, developed 15 courses, including a certificate in TV and film production, social media for business, motion picture screenwriting, digital photography, a TV and film documentary production workshop and selling media advertising, among other courses.

“By training people and business here in Florida for opportunities in and around TV, film and the new media industries, we are fueling our state’s long-term economic prosperity,” said Green in a statement.

“We’ll offer programs all over the state and develop partners all over the globe,” he said.

Julie Fagan, state director of the Banner Center for Financial and Professional Services, will offer 15 courses, including Certified Financial Planner National Certification, Certified Management Accountant Global Certification, legal studies, Lean Six Sigma National Certification, as well as several professional education programs statewide.

The center has plans to develop six new courses as well.

“With the launch of the Banner Center for Financial and Professional Services, we have the opportunity to make significant breakthroughs in several critical areas statewide, including the training, job enrichment and skills upgrade that are essential to the success of these industries,” said Fagan.

The courses, which will be taught at UNF, are now available and open to professionals, businesses and educators.

Course costs for each Banner Center range from $29 for one-day creative workshops to about $5,000 for a two-year program.

Workforce Florida is the statewide workforce board led by business and government leaders and charged with overseeing Florida’s work force system, which includes the Agency for Workforce Innovation and 24 regional work force boards.

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