Nicole Gislason

Director | Office of Career and Professional Education | 850.474.3204 |

Nicole Gislason is the director of the Office of Career and Professional Education. She is an educator and service provider who strives to expand and improve training opportunities in the 10-county region of Northwest Florida. Her primary talent in higher education is an ability to collaborate with business leaders, trainers, and government officials -- connecting people who have common needs but different missions. The results are collaborative workforce training projects created by true partners with measurable plans for success. Before starting a new project, Nicole conducts a needs assessment to determine an organization’s training gaps. With industry input, she develops and manages career technical certifications and custom training programs to educate non-traditional students, unemployed workers, and business professionals. Many programs focus on Information Technology, Project Management, Supervisory Skills, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and Leadership Training. 

Gislason leads a team that includes a program coordinator, training contractors, and business advisors. Together, they develop and manage career technical certifications and custom training programs to educate non-traditional students and business professionals.

Regionally, the team serves two important groups: (1) career-changers and veterans seeking certification in information technology and (2) manufacturing, financial and technical employers seeking quality improvement and leadership training for their workforce.  The first group benefits from a competitive grant of $3.9 million awarded to the UWF IT Academy to meet the demand for high-skill technical employees. UWF was one of only six universities in the United States that received H-1B awards in 2012.  The second group benefits from a state-funded initiative to support manufacturing employers.  

Gislason serves a national audience of her peers as the chair-elect of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Outreach and Economic Development Network.  Founded in 1915, UPCEA serves 395 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America.  Through this national network, UWF builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and economic issues.