The second annual convening of the Florida Chamber’s Florida International Trade and Investment Conference is set to take place on August 9th in Orlando, Florida. The forum is designed to position Florida in the global marketplace; highlight opportunities to strengthen the state’s global economic competitiveness; and offer insight into how state and business leaders can work together with international stakeholders to expand investment and enhance the prosperity for the state.

Michael Preston, Ed. D., Executive Director of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities is set to join the “Unlocking Florida’s Potential” panel discussion during the conference to provide commentary on higher education’s role in influencing and supporting local and global competitiveness. It’s worth noting, Florida Consortium member institutions represent over 170,000 college students or nearly 50% of the total State University System enrollment in Miami, Orlando and Tampa, key economic centers in the state.  And according to data from the Brookings’ Institute, Florida will soon pass New York and become the country’s third-largest state, and it’s still growing. Florida’s geography, diverse population, state university and college system, knowledge-based innovation ecosystem and highly skilled workforce, are assets that make Florida ripe for international trade.

As we see it, higher education’s role in supporting international trade is two-fold, supplying talented career ready college graduates that will transition to long standing productive employees. High skilled roles are a real possibility for students in the sunshine state.

Additionally, higher education and particularly large metropolitan research universities like ours can provide research and development expertise to global corporations and other international stakeholders. From generating patents to leveraging experts to tackle complex problems, Florida is uniquely positioned to thrive and higher education plays a pivotal role in the future of the Sunshine State.


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