Florida Poly, Mosaic sign educational partnership

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Florida Polytechnic University joined The Mosaic Company in partnership to provide internships, research opportunities — and possibly jobs — to hundreds of students of Florida’s newest state university.

Florida Poly president Randy K. Avent signed the agreement with Gary “Bo” Davis, head of Mosaic’s Phosphate Operations, in front of an audience of about 50 people at a ceremony Friday morning at the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute (FIPR) in Bartow.

Mosaic, the phosphate fertilizer mining and manufacturing company based in Polk County, expects to replace more than 700 retiring workers, over the next five years. Many of those opening will be in technical jobs.

Mosaic employs 4,000 workers at four mines and four manufacturing facilities in the Central Florida region.

As part of its partnership with Florida Poly, Mosaic will support the school in a range of projects, such as curriculum development, as well as provide industry insight, analysis, joint research and classroom instruction. To date, Mosaic has donated $65,000 in scholarships to Florida Poly.

Mosaic’s role could include providing opportunities for Florida Poly students majoring in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Logistics and Supply Chain to participate in co-op and intern programs.

“Collaborating with a world-class company like Mosaic to provide students practical, hands-on learning opportunities is what will set our institution and graduates apart,” Avent said. “I’m confident that our faculty and students will benefit from the relationship with the state’s largest phosphate company.”

Florida Polytechnic became the state’s 12th public university in 2012 after former state Sen. JD Alexander pushed a bill through the Florida Legislature. When classes begin, in the fall of 2014, Florida Poly will feature a distinctive curriculum focusing on applied research, technology and engineering.

“Mosaic’s mining operations in Central Florida build on a proud tradition dating back more than a century,” said Davis. “Our industry is a strong economic driver, and provides tens of thousands of career opportunities in STEM-related fields.”

The FIPR Institute, now a Florida Polytechnic research institution, has worked for 35 years to support phosphate-related studies as a way to improve the environment, protect public health, increase mining and processing efficiency and develop sustainability through improved technology.

FPIR employs biologists, engineers and chemists to conduct in-house research, and support several non-phosphate topics, such as energy and the mining and processing of other minerals.

With the addition of Mosaic as an educational partner, Florida Poly’s network of industry allies has grown to include more than 70 corporate, government and non-government high-tech organizations.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.