Dr. C. Edward Meadows

From the White House to the state House to dinner conversations in our own homes, the viability of a college education is being scrutinized as never before. The debate often focuses on the costs associated with getting a degree and how successfully that degree earns a return on investment by leading to gainful employment.

For many years, research has consistently shown that those who earn college degrees fare better in the job market than those who do not. Recent labor forecasts predict that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of American jobs will require a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Interestingly, recent studies are showing that two-year associate degrees can lead to high-paying careers as quickly as four-year bachelor’s degrees. According to Forbes, the three bachelor’s degrees with the highest starting salaries in 2013 were business at $55,100, computer science at $59,100, and engineering at $62,600. However, the top three two-year degrees were web developer at $62,500, registered nurse at $65,470, and dental hygienist at $70,210.

At Pensacola state College, we are providing a range of programs that equip students for a competitive workplace, whether the path to that workplace requires certification, an associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. We are pleased that PSC programs often are trendsetters in the academic and workforce communities.

For instance, our engineering technology students are manufacturing their own designs using a new, cutting-edge 3D color printer, putting them well ahead of current workers in the field. Meanwhile, our organic chemistry students are using a high-tech nuclear Magnetic resonance spectrometer to process data from their experiments. This hands-on experience with the NMR is usually reserved for graduate-level students and those in scientific research.

Our close relationships with the local business and educational communities are a hallmark of Pensacola state and ensure that the college is offering diverse programs that benefit students preparing for immediate employment or university transfer.

In the past year, we responded to numerous industry needs presented by the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. In particular, we began an innovative welding program using computerized welding simulators and live welding machines, housed in two tractor-trailer trucks that can literally take the program to areas where training is needed.

We further responded to community needs through partnerships with our sister educational institutions to benefit students of all ages. One example is our recent partnership with the Escambia and Santa Rosa county school districts and the University of West Florida to facilitate the Career Pathways campaign. This program provides information to help students navigate from middle school through post graduate degrees in our area’s in-demand careers in the aerospace, construction, health care and advanced manufacturing industries, among others.

As always, our programs along with our clubs and service organizations focus on preparing our students to be well-rounded, productive citizens. Add in the contributions of a highly-qualified and dedicated faculty and staff, and it is easy to see why Pensacola state again received national recognition as a top one Percent college for affordability, a top 100 college for producing associate degrees, and a top 15 Percent Military Friendly School.

As you read about the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and programs, you will see why Pensacola state is continuing to lay the foundation for students to become workers, innovators, leaders and life-long learners, benefiting themselves, their families and the community.

Edward Meadows