Palm Beach State College receives $1.9-million (IREPO) grant, three new strategies implemented

Students will begin experiencing benefits of new classrooms by spring 2022 semester
Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 17:32:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach State College has been awarded almost $1.9-million as part of a package to help it emerge from the pandemic. They’re one of three colleges in the state to receive the money with a focus on resuming operations, serving students' needs, and workforce development. Ultimately, it will better prepare the county’s workforce.

We’re two weeks away from the first day of the semester and Palm Beach State’s book store looks the way you’d expect it.

“It’s been busy,” said Carine Bonnett. “There’s also a lot of anticipation behind starting the fall semester.”

But little does she and other students know in the innovation lab — class is already in session.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel is seeing how health sciences are taught wearing augmented reality headsets.

”This is not my mother’s or my father’s state college,” Frankel said.

The college was awarded a $1.9-million Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) grant.

The award will implement three strategies: redesigning up to 30 classrooms for flexible learning environments, migrating faculty to Canvas LMS platform for teaching online courses, and providing professional development to faculty and dual enrollment teachers for consistent online delivery.

According to Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker, the money is an investment for students and helps the county.

”When you look at us for any student that chooses to get a credential past high school, in Palm Beach County — we’re the number one choice,” Parker said.

”There’s going to be a lot of change in the way things are done because of the pandemic,” said Ken Libutti, Palm Beach State College chief information officer. “A lot more automation and robotics is going to be built-in. So we have to prepare students to be able to work on these systems.”

”A lot higher delivery method of new technology,” added Jose Ortiz, Palm Beach State College business and computer sciences program director.

The strategies will in turn help the county’s workforce while also changing how majors like computer programming and network administrator are taught.

”Over 80-percent of our students when they leave us they really want to stay in Palm Beach County, Parker said.

”And this is our workforce,” added Rep. Frankel.

Parker said ideally students will begin experiencing the benefits of the new classrooms by the spring 2022 semester.

More information on the grant can be found here.