Through the support of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, the Florida EPIC (Entrepreneurism, Policy, Innovation, and Commerce) Program at Jacksonville University was established to attract, develop, and retain in-state highly qualified graduates in fields vital to our state’s economic prosperity. Through this partnership, the EPIC Program has advanced in four specific growth areas. First, JU ensures that academic programs are closely aligned with Florida’s workforce needs; second, JU seeks to bridge the gap between higher education and the marketplace by involving employers more intimately; third, JU continues to address any gaps in the skills and competencies expected by future employers; and fourth, JU works to retain graduates within the state of Florida to better meet workforce needs.
Since the receipt of initial State funding in 2014, the University has significantly updated both curriculum and infrastructure. This investment by the State has allowed our University to add more than 30 academic programs addressing areas identified by employers as being in high demand—science, technology, engineering, mathematics, public policy, healthcare, global trade, aviation, sustainability and businesses. During the current academic year, more than half of our student population is enrolled in EPIC-related majors at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These sought after disciplines will continue to meet increased demand in the public sector and uniquely position JU to provide graduates who are Life Ready, Work Ready, and World Ready.
Recurring funding is utilized to fund faculty salaries in the newly implemented EPIC programs and to incorporate interdisciplinary collaboration teams through programs such as Collaborate JU. Through Collaborate JU, students and faculty work in cross-disciplinary teams to solve real-world problems alongside industry professionals. These experiences allow students to develop skills such as functioning in multi-specialty teams; leadership and project management; critical thinking; and the appreciation of diverse perspectives in solving problems.