Webber International University recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of their new Health Sciences Center. The first phase of the Center will be home to the University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), which had already admitted their student cohorts for their programs. The University began planning the state-of-the-art facility in 2019 and now is set to launch the construction with a completion date of August 2023.
Through these programs, Webber International University is looking to serve the community by filling the need for quality healthcare professionals by providing post-secondary education to the region of Southeast Polk County and beyond. According to Employ Florida, by 2028, Polk County will have 4,788 registered nursing positions open, an increased demand of 1.25% . OTA practitioners will have an increased demand of 3.25%.
The ceremony included Mr. Jay Culver, Senior Vice President of Operations, Dr. Nelson Marquez, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and Dean for the College of Health Professions and Sciences, Mr. Joe Strickler, Board of Trustees Chair, and Mr. Leo Alvarado, owner of Leo Construction, the contractors for the project. Culver stated “A few years ago, Webber identified the need and launched our Nursing and Occupational Therapy Programs. Today we celebrate the next step in addressing the workforce’s needs with this groundbreaking ceremony.”
On a local scale, Webber’s Health Sciences programs serve the community in need of qualified trained nurses and OTAs. It is providing access to healthcare education in Southeast Polk County that would otherwise be limited to residents in the area.
“This is another opportunity for us to not only help our local community but to help our students enter the workforce with meaningful careers,” said Culver.
The programs’ respective accrediting /oversight organizations have approved Webber to admit up to thirty-six (36) nursing students and twenty-four (24) OTA students per cohort. This will enable the University to produce seventy-two (72) nursing graduates and forty-eight (48) OTA graduates per year.