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Greater Fort Lauderdale: A Smart Choice for Higher Education

A large variety of colleges and universities gives this South Florida region an advantage when attracting new business and top talent.

By Teree Caruthers on October 13, 2021

student working in lab
Jon Ross/Broward College

With more than 35 colleges and universities located within a 30-mile radius, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts an impressive roster of higher education options.

Colleges and universities, such as Broward College, Nova Southeastern University and Florida Atlantic University, play an integral role in the region’s economic development efforts, partnering with economic development agencies and industry leaders to provide the skilled workforce required to keep the economy thriving.

students in study group
Jon Ross/Broward College

Broward College

Broward College, for example, leads the Aviation Skilled Workforce Committee for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (the region’s chief economic development organization) to attract new talent into middle-skill jobs in the area’s rich aviation and aerospace sector. The college also has industry advisory committees for every career and technical education program that solicit input on in-demand jobs and skills.

“We structure our programs through the guided pathways model. All applicants are, from the outset, guided through the career conversation with one of our advisers who shares relevant resources and information about the educational requirements for in-demand careers at the regional and national level,” says Isabel Gonzalez, chief of staff and vice president of communications and community relations for Broward College.

“Additionally, the college offers career coaching and preparation through our Career Centers, which use real-time labor data to position students for internships and placement in high-wage, high-demand jobs.”

Career coaching is one of the reasons why Rosean Monteith, admission/registration assistant at Broward College and a recent graduate, chose the school.

Educational Attainment (In Greater Fort Lauderdale)

90% – Graduated from high school or higher
34% – Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher
13% – Have an Advanced degree

“Broward College provided me with access, community resources, tutoring, counseling, opportunities to develop leadership skills, a great working network and support as a student to endure the next phase of life,” Monteith says.

He says other reasons he chose Broward are the same reasons he chose to stay in Greater Fort Lauderdale to begin his career — diversity, community engagement, and volunteer and professional development opportunities.

“Broward College has given me what I thought I would never have, and it’s all from the people that do the actual work to develop the bits and pieces that are often overlooked,” Monteith says. “It’s essential to start impacting and developing young adults of all backgrounds, seeing that they will be the ones impacting Fort Lauderdale and Broward County very soon.”

students walking on campus at Florida Atlantic University
Alex Dolce

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University (FAU), a public research university with its main campus in Boca Raton and satellite campuses in Dania Beach, Davie, Jupiter, Fort Pierce and Fort Lauderdale, offers more than 170 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students for careers in the Fort Lauderdale region.

“Several programs that serve critical and high-demand workforce needs are offered at our FAU satellite campuses, including programs in nursing, education, business, accounting, criminal justice and social work,” says Linda Johnson, interim associate vice president for academic affairs. “More than 35% of the students who attend FAU are Broward County residents, and more than 70% remain in the area after they complete their degree.”

FAU has many two- and three-time alumni from the region who earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with some also earning their doctorate at the university, she says.

One such student is John Cordero, who graduated from FAU in 2013 with a degree in special education from the College of Education. He is currently a fourth- and fifth-grade autism teacher with Broward County Public Schools.

“I enjoy working with children with developmental disabilities by helping them develop fundamental skills, such as self-advocacy and social interactions skills so that they may be as independent as possible,” Cordero says. “Working in student government (at FAU) helped develop my confidence and leadership skills, which has contributed to my current position as an ASD teacher. I also had a great team of student colleagues and advisers, which helped in developing my skills.”

exterior of Nova Southeastern University building
Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale-based Nova Southeastern University (NSU) also partners with local companies to identify talent that meets workforce needs, even developing new recruitment channels during the pandemic to connect companies with top talent.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted all services online and were able to maintain momentum despite the shifts occurring around us,” says Mignon Bissonnette, assistant dean at the Center for Academic and Professional Success for NSU. “We hosted 18 industry-specific virtual career fairs — featuring over 200 companies — which provided companies an ideal avenue to meet with job seekers and find candidates that meet their workforce needs.”

Bissonnette says organizations looking to recruit at NSU have a customized menu of options to choose from that best fit their needs.

“We take an individualized approach when working with our employer partners to ensure they are successful in hiring our students and alumni,” Bissonnette says. “From hosting information sessions, attending networking events, having access to industry-specific resume books, or referrals, we partner to help both our students and employers find success.”

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