Jacksonville University President Tim Cost and Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland announced today, Dec. 15, 2020, that Jacksonville University is partnering with the City of Palm Coast, Fla., to build a Palm Coast location and bring in-demand healthcare graduate programs to Flagler and Volusia counties.
With the new location, Jacksonville University will maintain its position as a leader in healthcare education, working to transform communities by educating and training exceptional healthcare professionals. The new Jacksonville University Palm Coast location and the school’s Main Campus in Jacksonville are two anchors of what JU expects to become — an education corridor stretching throughout Northeast Florida.
“This partnership builds on Jacksonville University’s proven strategy of attracting top-notch students, educating and training them in cutting-edge fields, and connecting them with local employers so they stay in the region,” said President Cost. “With demand for healthcare professionals expected to rise 14 percent in the next decade, and a lack of local graduate programs devoted to educating advanced specialized healthcare professionals, this investment comes at a critical time. We appreciate the support of the City of Palm Coast—Mayor Holland, City Manager Morton and the City Council—as we work toward the shared goal of delivering high-quality healthcare services in Flagler and Volusia counties.”
The Jacksonville University Palm Coast location will offer several highly acclaimed JU programs. Beginning in the fall of 2021, a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will be available. A Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Educator, and MSN: Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems, will be added in the spring of 2022.
Future programs are expected to include an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an undergraduate nursing degree for those who already have a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing and specialized graduate nurse practitioner programs. These programs are not currently offered in the region, or are offered but cannot meet projected demand, and represent some of the fastest-growing healthcare occupations in the country.
“This partnership cements Palm Coast as a destination for high-quality healthcare: for students, for employers and for our residents, and builds on the existing degree pipeline from Flagler Palm Coast High School’s medical flagship and offerings at Daytona State College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,” said Mayor Holland. “Jacksonville University is an agile, market-responsive partner with a demonstrated track record of high-quality student applicants, student retention, strong employer relationships and integration with other educational partners in the region.”
The Palm Coast City Council approved a $1.5 million grant to Jacksonville University Tuesday, designated for initial start-up costs and program launch as well as establishing the physical location at the Palm Coast Town Center. The initial footprint, located in 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space with cutting-edge classroom and healthcare training technology, will be built in partnership with Douglas Property & Development, a leader in regional real estate development.
The City Council also approved a three-year, $1 million forgivable loan to offset ongoing program costs. Jacksonville University has already invested academic resources for curriculum development and accreditation for the Palm Coast location, to be prepared to quickly bring programs to fruition and provide immediate value to the region.
The Jacksonville University Palm Coast location is expected to enroll up to 50 students in its initial cohort in fall 2021, with a total in-person enrollment between 100 and 150 students within 24 months. The location will create between 20 and 30 new jobs, including both faculty and staff positions. More information about student applications and employment opportunities will be available in the coming months. The site and program operations will be positioned for longer-term growth opportunities with the addition of larger facilities and more partnerships with local hospitals, providers and healthcare businesses.