The Greater Daytona Region's Talent Earns Top Scores

Greater Daytona’s colleges and universities stock the talent pipeline for employers.

Rebecca Treon
On Monday, May 17, 2021 - 12:24
daytona beach

For students looking for higher education opportunities, Greater Daytona combines the best of both worlds: advanced learning and ample prospects for postgraduation employment, plus a coastal location with access to the beach and water.

A backbone of the region's talent development is a network of colleges that provide a pipeline of skilled workers and offer specialized programs that meet the workforce needs of area employers. More than 45,000 students are enrolled at the region's colleges and universities, and many of them remain in the area after graduation.

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David Massey

Partnering With Industry

Daytona State College is a key component of the region's talent development efforts, offering more than 100 certificate, associate and bachelor's programs to more than 25,000 students at seven area campuses.

"We like to call ourselves lifelong learners," says Frank Mercer, director of the Center for Business & Industry at Daytona State College. "Our programs create on-ramps or pathways for working and learning. Students can take a certificate program and leverage that training into their associate or bachelor's degrees."

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Courtesy of Daytona State College

Daytona State College actively partners with local businesses to develop highly focused programs to attract, educate and employ workers in specific industries that have a presence in the region. The college works closely with companies and organizations, such as the Workforce Development Board of Volusia and Flagler counties, to leverage the flexibility of its programs.

For example, Boston Whaler, a major boat manufacturer in the region, worked with Daytona State College to develop a certificate program for fiberglass laminators.

"They had a profound need for people with this skill," Mercer says. "So we developed this 40-hour bootcamp that was done over two weekends with 10-hour days, and the classes were taught by the company's own employees."

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Jeff Adkins

World-Class Institutions

Greater Daytona is home to a campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, one of the world's top aerospace and aviation educators.

Embry-Riddle offers more than 50 degree and program options ranging from certificates to Ph.D. programs in seven areas of study, including space, applied science, engineering, aviation, business and security.

The university also collaborates with other regional schools like Daytona State College by offering a scholarship to students who have already earned an associate degree who transfer to Embry-Riddle to complete their education.

The presence of Embry-Riddle has drawn a number of aerospace-related and technology companies to the region. The Research Park at Embry-Riddle includes the MicaPlex incubator.

Located in DeLand, Stetson University is an excellent option for higher education in Greater Daytona. Founded in 1883, the private university has four colleges and schools and has been ranked as one of the nation's best colleges by U.S. News & World Report. 

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Couresty of Stetson University

Stetson moved up a notch to tie for No. 4 among 133 universities on the U.S. News 2021 Best Colleges list of Best Regional Universities – South. Stetson also appeared on four additional lists in the same category: Best for Veterans, No. 2; Best Undergraduate Teaching, No. 8 (tie); Best Value Schools, No. 15; and Most Innovative Universities, No. 16 (tie).

Its roughly 4,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate programs, ranging from accounting to Asian studies, business, biology, music, mathematics and everything in between. Stetson also offers graduate programs in business administration, mental health counseling, education, creative writing, law and health care.

Stetson's historic campus buildings are considered a regional landmark, noted for their beauty and named after influential DeLand residents throughout time. Notably, the student housing is dog-friendly for those who want to train guide dogs. The school takes its name from John B. Stetson's hat-making legacy, hence the school's sports teams' moniker, The Hatters.

If you'd like to learn more about the Greater Daytona region, check out the latest edition of Greater Daytona Region/Volusia County


Rebecca Treon is a Denver-based freelance food, travel, and lifestyles writer who has worked on the editorial staff at 5280, DiningOut