Perhaps, no one in Lauderhill knows the lay of the land better than its mayor. After all, Ken Thurston has served in a real estate capacity in the city since he received his license from Broward College more than four decades ago.

As luck would have it, Thurston is back at it with Broward College. Through Broward UP™, the College’s community outreach movement, the Mayor is identifying neighborhoods in Lauderhill where unemployment is high, and education attainment levels are low. In these zip codes, Broward College officials plan to mobilize the services and resources of Broward UP in a coordinated effort with Thurston and the city to break down barriers to education and, at the same time, drive social mobility and economic development. 

BC Cares Event LauderhillAlthough much of Lauderhill is enjoying the fruits of low unemployment, Thurston said the central part of the city, where subsidized housing attracts residents from all parts of the county, could use the assistance of Broward UP™ to tap its “Unlimited Potential.”

“Subsidized housing is great because it helps people live in decent and safe housing, but we have a cluster of people who have not acquired the life skills to move ahead,” said Thurston. “If we can educate these residents and lift them up, it becomes a win-win for everybody.”

Thurston has already pointed to the Lauderhill Aquatics Center on 55th Avenue as an ideal location to hold workshops in college and career development and training toward substitute teaching and Microsoft Office certifications.

“Maybe it’s computer skills, maybe it’s an area in technology or healthcare,” said Thurston. “These are all industries where jobs are in high demand. Or maybe it’s employment skills, such as how to interview, how to complete a job application or how to prepare a resume.”

First Municipal Partnership

Thurston said Broward UP’s first municipal partnership evolved after Broward College President Gregory Haile and his team presented their strategies at a meeting of the city commissioners. Shortly after that, the collaboration was launched at the Boys & Girls Club of Broward College in Lauderhill, where Broward UP staged a day of recreational activities and team building.

“There is a willingness by President Haile and those around him to think outside the box to find solutions to problems that have existed for a long time,” said Thurston. “The prospect of having classes in our city will increase the skills of our citizens, which should translate to increased employability for them and better jobs.”

Thurston understands how important enhancing jobs skills can be. After graduating from Morehouse College in Atlanta, he moved to Fort Lauderdale to become a property manager. One year in, he realized the position required a real estate license. He turned to Broward College, taking classes at a facility off Commercial Boulevard. In the years since, two of his four children attended Broward College before transferring to Florida State University and Florida Atlantic University.

Now as the “go-to” leader of Lauderhill, he’s is thrilled to be working with Broward College again to empower his city’s residents.

To learn more about how Broward UP™ plans to bridge the gaps between communities in need and  postsecondary education, watch this South Florida PBS interview Broward College President Gregory Haile, Esq., here

If you are dedicated to promoting opportunity and pushing residents of Broward County to achieve their highest potential, Broward UP™ is a county-wide movement for you to get behind. Here’s how you can partner.