The University of North Florida named Karen Bowling the institution’s first vice president of jobs, effective immediately.
Bowling will provide leadership for the development of partnerships that best align UNF’s instructional, research and creative initiatives with local and global needs and priorities, according to a news release.
She will develop new initiatives and programs among the university’s colleges to ensure the career success of current and prospective students.
“Creating strong job opportunities for our students is of the utmost importance. This position will help serve as an engine of our economy by connecting our highly qualified pipeline of talent with the businesses and companies that need their skills,” said UNF President David Szymanski in the release.
UNF is No. 1 in the state university system in the percentage of graduates employed in Florida, it said. About 90% of UNF students take part in internships and other real-world experiences before they graduate.
Bowling has served since 2018 as the first director of UNF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, where she brought in the first group of 14 entrepreneurs while leading the development of the center’s processes, procedures, marketing and operational oversight.
She also created business partnerships and led collaboration with the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem to further drive economic development in Northeast Florida.
Bowling will continue in her role as director of the Downtown center while assuming her new responsibilities as vice president.
“To stay competitive and deliver for our students, we will continue to ensure that they not only get the finest academic education, but also the desired skills and attributes employers seek in our graduates,” Bowling said in the release.
Bowling, a Riverside resident, has more than 30 years of experience in public and private companies within the health care, government and technology industries.
Before joining UNF, she was president of Thrive Consulting LLC in Jacksonville where she consulted in the health care and government sectors.
Bowling also served as chief administrative officer for the city and as the chief executive officer of Solantic urgent care clinics and in communication roles, at health care firms and in the broadcast industry.
Bowling is a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 4th Judicial Circuit. She is immediate past chair of the Florida State College at Jacksonville board of trustees and a former member of the JAX Chamber board of directors.