Sports, business and health care dominate this week’s Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle program airing Sunday morning at 10 on ABC7.
Jeff Allbritten, president of Edison State College, discusses the status of sports and Gov. Rick Scott’s $10,000 degree programs; Scott Campbell, CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, sees growth in store for two Collier hospitals as ownership changes hands; and John Cox, president/CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, proposes a convention center next to a soccer stadium for Collier, and discusses the county’s business image.
NewsMakers - Jeff Allbritten
President, Edison State College
Lytle: You have two of the $10,000 four-year degrees that Gov. Rick Scott challenged you to provide, for students to become biology and math teachers. How is that going?
Albritten: Enrollment is light. I think the goal was to entice people, going back to the affordability question, I fundamentally think that is not the reason people make decisions to choose their majors. But we are hoping to sort of prime the pump, if you will and drive people into those fields...
Lytle: Because there’s also high need.
Allbritten: And there’s no question they’ll get a job if they get those degrees. So we’re focusing on workforce development.
NewsMakers: Scott Campbell
Lytle: Is Physicians Regional able to hire the personnel that it needs, and will need for expansion?
Campbell: We continue to need more and more nurses, so on the heels of consideration of the educational system expanding and creating more nursing and physical therapy and pharmaceutical services personnel, that will work in our favor. When you look at expanding a hospital, potentially to have 75 more beds, then you obviously have more rooms, more services ... We are able to meet the needs today. We use what we call travel services of nurses who come from up North ...
Lytle: ... seasonal ...
Campbell: They’re glad to leave Minnesota, to come to Naples, Florida, to work for six months. But in a perfect world, we’d like to continue growing the harvest of staff right here in our own community.
NewsMakers - John Cox
John Cox - Naples Chamber of Commerce
Lytle: Since you’ve been here in July, you’ve done what you call the Taking Care of Business — like Elvis — Listening Tour. Are we really as user-friendly for business as we think we are?
Cox: Well, it’s a great question. Rich Broome from Hertz, said yesterday at the County Commission meeting that the brand of Naples — and I think this was offensive, but telling — he said the national brand on Naples is, it’s a place where rich white people go to retire.
Now that’s not a racist statement. He said also if you don’t brand yourself, you will be branded by others. So that’s the point. That’s the branding that we have.
We have to find a way forward to become much more competitive than what we are.