FLEX established our first extension office, the UF Innovation Station Sarasota County (UFIS-SC) to facilitate Florida’s role as a national leader in high tech industries. This Innovation Station and those strategically located throughout the State of Florida establish and grow partnerships with the private, academic/research, and public sectors with a focus on expanding the innovation economy. Innovation Stations provide workforce development, access to faculty for consultation, pipelines to UF students for internships and employment, technology for commercialization, avenues to unique equipment and talent for R&D support, training infrastructure, and myriad other assets to help grow Florida’s high tech ecosystem.
Talent and Technology Pipelines
Innovation Stations serve as a platform for not only connecting talent to the industry but also to developing the New Engineer. Gator Engineers are entrepreneurial, engaging, effective, professional, visionary and inspiring.
Entrepreneurial Community – Innovation Stations provide programs that help gain systematic access to a pipeline of next-generation engineering students who have outstanding interdisciplinary technical skills and have been immersed in engineering leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial experiences.
Established companies – Innovation Stations provide assistance and support and serve as a one-stop shop in facilitating connections to the University, be it to source student talent for internships or full-time employment, connection with faculty for research collaborations, or accessing unique facilities and resources that can assist in product development and technological advancement.
Partnering with regional school districts, schools, and teachers, Innovation Stations leverage University capabilities to enhance educational experiences that spark interest and awareness of STEM careers and opportunities.
Professional Development and Continuing Education
Innovation Stations focus on upskilling the regional workforce through specialized training offerings such as Coding Boot-camps, Technical Entrepreneurship and Innovation Training, and distance and continuing education offerings. Innovation Stations partner with academic institutions to establish live-learn-work experiences (e.g., co-ops and internships) with regional companies to increase the pipeline of local residents into UF programs and then back into the community’s innovation ecosystem to serve as role models for future generations.