July 11, 2020

Business Florida 2020 - The Regions

Moving Ahead

Bay • Calhoun • Escambia • Franklin • Gadsen • Gulf • Holmes • Jackson •Jefferson • Leon • Liberty • Okaloosa • Santa Rosa • Wakulla • walton • washington

| 10/16/2019


In 2018, personal finance website WalletHub.com named Tallahassee the 15th most educated city in the U.S. based on such factors as quality of education and educational and career attainment. Nearly half (48%) of its residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31% nationwide.

Two of Florida’s 12 public universities are located in Tallahassee: Florida A&M University, ranked seventh nationwide among historically black colleges and universities by U.S. News & World Report and known for its pharmacy school; and Florida State University, the nation’s 18th-ranked public university and a research heavyweight at No. 69 among U.S. public universities for patents granted in 2018 (34 in all). In FY 2018-19, FSU researchers received more than $233 million from federal, state and private sources to support investigations into such areas as health sciences, high energy physics and marine biology.

The region’s third public university — University of West Florida in Pensacola — has added a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and is partnering with Pensacola-based Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition to develop Florida’s first doctoral program in intelligent systems and robotics.

Also in this region: Tallahassee Community College, which is home to the new Veterans Success Center where vets receive help in transitioning to civilian life, achieving academic success at TCC and finding work after graduation; Northwest Florida State College, named among the nation’s 50 best community colleges by College Choice 2018, with four educational sites in Florida’s Northwest; and Pensacola State College, where a two-story STEM facility that will house its cybersecurity and math programs is under construction.

Life & Leisure

Accolades Aplenty
Northwest Florida is a great place to live, but don’t just take our word for it. U.S. News & World Report put Pensacola on its 2019 top 25 list of most desirable places to live in the U.S. Southern Living ranked Destin No. 2 and Panama City No. 3 on its list of “The South’s Best Beach Towns 2019.” And MSN.com’s Insider Online bestowed the title “Best Small Town in Florida” on DeFuniak Springs in Walton County, citing its Victorian charm and welcoming atmosphere, with a shout-out to the Walton County Public Library, Florida’s oldest.

The Livin’ Is Easy
Daily life in Florida’s Northwest is a lot like being on vacation. Traffic jams are practically unheard of and flip-flops are universally welcomed. There are dozens of small towns with tongue-twisting names like Apalachicola, Miccosukee, Wacissa and Sopchoppy to explore, plus Florida’s capital city Tallahassee, and America’s oldest, Pensacola, where five different flags have flown since its founding in 1559. This region boasts a full calendar of special events and festivals too plus a wealth of natural beauty — winding rivers, abundant pine forests, crystal-clear springs and even an underwater sculpture garden in the Gulf of Mexico off south Walton County. And for sports enthusiasts, there’s Blue Wahoos AA baseball in downtown Pensacola and a steady stream of tournaments to enjoy at the new Sports Complex in Panama City Beach, featuring 13 fields where soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, flag football, baseball and softball can be played.

Caring Just for Kids
MSAs with populations under 500,000 typically don’t have a children’s hospital; Pensacola does. Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, which opened in spring 2019 with 126 beds, is the fourth largest children’s hospital in Florida and Northwest’s only hospital solely dedicated to caring for sick and injured babies and children. The facility boasts the area’s only Level III neonatal intensive care unit as well and is equipped to provide pediatric intensive care, cancer care and rehabilitation.

Tags: Business Florida, Northwest

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