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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 28, 202005:10 AM EST

JAX Chamber, state colleges partner for fintech

The education program aimed at attracting businesses is scheduled to begin in 2021.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Florida State College at Jacksonville, St. Johns River State College and JAX Chamber are partnering to develop a comprehensive financial technology education, employment and business recruitment program.

The colleges and the chamber will use a $3.67 million state grant intended to help make Florida a top destination for financial technology companies to develop and implement the program, said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development arm of JAX Chamber.

“This builds upon our robust financial services industry,” Wallace said.

He cited the presence of companies such as Fidelity National Information Services, which is constructing a  $150 million corporate headquarters building in Jacksonville; SoFi, a financial services company that established a service center in Jacksonville and plans to add 300 jobs; and SS&C, a global financial services company that will hire nearly 200 people for its center in Jacksonville.

Wallace said there are more than 20 banks, investment firms and other financial businesses that employ about 60,000 people in Northeast Florida.

The program, still in the developmental stage, will comprise online courses, paid internships, scholarships and job placement to create a “fintech pipeline,” said FSCJ President John Avendano.

“We will retrofit classrooms, provide state-of-the-art equipment, add full-time positions and promote and market the opportunity to attract students and companies,” Avendano said.

St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens said the partnership will combine the educational and employment opportunities available in Northeast Florida.

“Our students who live in St. Johns, Clay and Putnam counties see Duval and Nassau counties as where they’ll work,” Pickens said.

The partnership involves the business community. Avendano said a business and industry leadership team, “BILT,” will be formed to advise the colleges on the skill needs of fintech companies so the colleges can design the courses accordingly.

The team will meet quarterly and also will participate in an annual Northeast Florida Fintech Forum, he said.

Pickens said the program is planned to be in operation by the beginning of the 2021 fall term.

“We’ll listen to the needs of employers. It’s about growing the talent and getting people into immediate opportunities,” Wallace said.

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