Business & Economy

UWF partners with Ford to provide next generation education

This month, the University of West Florida, along with the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Northwest Florida Next Generation Learning Community, announced its partnership with the Ford Motor Company to serve as a Resource Hub Provider for Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (Ford PAS). Ford PAS is an educational program sponsored by Ford Motor Company to encourage high school students to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century work force. These entities will work together to provide professional development for high school teachers and opportunities for community engagement regionally.

“This is a distinctive honor for UWF and the Northwest Florida community,” said UWF Associate Professor and Workforce Liaison Jill White and Jennifer Edge, UWF Division of Continuing Education. “The career academy model engages students in the learning process by allowing them the opportunity to actively participate in their own learning. Academies excite young people about education as well as prepare them for the workplace and postsecondary education. When successfully implemented, career academies also improve attendance, grades, and graduation rates and help to ensure a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary and workplace success.”

Natalie Prim, vice president of community affairs for the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce representing the Northwest Florida Next Generation Learning Community, said “Achieving this important designation from Ford is vital for the ‘teaching and learning’ component of education reform established within our two-county initiative to advance career academies and achieve business and community engagement.”

More than 600 schools across the nation use the Ford PAS curriculum. The rigorous curriculum is aligned with both state and national standards. There are 20 modules in the Ford PAS project-based curriculum, which are built around three key learning pillars: teaching and learning, educational reform and the involvement of business partnerships. The contextually based, rigorous 21st century academic content focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Twenty-first century workplace skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, creativity, collaboration and leadership, are used throughout the authentic inquiry and problem-based activities.

Evon Emerson, president and CEO of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, said it is an honor to be one of three Ford PAS Hub designations in the country.

“Our team has worked closely with Ford since 2007 and since that time, our schools, our students and our work force have greatly benefited,” she said. “The prestigious designation will make an even stronger impact in business and education.”

In August of 2007, Northwest Florida was designated as a Ford Motor Company Fund Next Generation Learning Community due to its alignment between business, industry and education, and its efforts to create a “dual county” career academy system based on economic development targets.

For more information about the Ford PAS program, visit For more information about UWF Workforce Connections, visit For more information about the Northwest Florida Next Generation Learning Community, visit or contact Jennifer Edge at (850) 473-7321 or e-mail

By Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications