What's the Headline? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Guest Correspondence

“Jobs, jobs, jobs still tops in Florida.” That was an above-the-fold headline in our largest local daily last week. The story highlighted University of South Florida’s annual Sunshine State Survey, which found that jobs and the economy remain the most important issue on the minds of Floridians. According to the survey, directed by my longtime friend Dr. Susan MacManus, “the lack of well-paying jobs” is seen as the top threat to our state’s economy.

That headline—“Jobs, jobs, jobs”—caused me to do a double-take. Not because of the sentiment, which seems right on. But because of an upcoming event here in our community that was also top of mind.

Next Wednesday, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative holds its annual “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” event at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing. This is a much-anticipated forum where we will get a peek at what industry sectors are growing in our region and where the jobs will be. Couple this forecast with statewide data on growth sectors to be discussed by Florida Chamber Foundation economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, plus the perspective of local employers on a panel he’ll moderate, and we should all come away with actionable intelligence on how to best invest in our regional workforce.

The “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” labor-market analysis commissioned by CareerEdge has been dead on in accuracy. It correctly identified healthcare as a growing sector early in The Great Recession, which subsequently led to increased trainings in nursing, trauma and long-term care. In 2011, the labor report accurately forecast growth in the manufacturing sector. As a result, Suncoast Technical College created a new machining program with funding from Sarasota County and the Sarasota County School District. There has been a 100 percent placement of its graduates into new manufacturing and engineering careers.

This will actually be CareerEdge’s fifth “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” event and showcases its innovative model of workforce development—going directly to employers in growing sectors to understand what they need to create and fill skilled jobs. This award-winning approach has received national recognition from the White House and was most recently featured in a case study by the International Economic Development Council. That tells me we are on the leading edge in our region’s approach to workforce investment.

But as a region so long dependent on services and seasons, we still have much ground to make up in diversifying our economy. At last month’s Florida Chamber of Commerce Future of Florida Forum in Orlando, a new Industry Diversification Index was shared by Florida Gulf Coast University. The index ranked our region 13th out of 24 workforce regions in the state, and it also showed Florida sitting just above the middle of the pack across the country. So, we’re roughly in the middle of the middle. And while that might seem like a nice place to meet right now amid the extremes of our current political climate, it’s not where we want to be when it comes to economic diversification.

That’s why we must keep working, together, to diversify our regional economy, to invest strategically in workforce development, and to meet employers and workers where they are in order to create and fill more skilled positions with career-ladder opportunities. Floridians—and CareerEdge—have it right: It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. To register for the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs event on October 19, go to CareerEdgeFunders.org.

« View The Saturday Oct 15, 2016 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

The Out-of-Door Academy Announces Welcome Wednesdays at New Lower School Campus on Clark Road.

The Out-of-Door Academy Announces Welcome Wednesdays at New Lower School Campus on Clark Road.

Feb 29, 2024

Overall Home Over $4 Million Gold Winner Bay Isle Home by DSDG Architects

Home of the Year Gold Winner Bay Isle Home by DSDG Architects

Feb 29, 2024

Music Compound Album Ensemble Returns to Pay Tribute to Rumours with Two Shows on March 2

Music Compound Album Ensemble Returns to Pay Tribute to Rumours with Two Shows on March 2

Feb 29, 2024

Orioles Participate in Annual Health and Fitness Challenge

Orioles Participate in Annual Health and Fitness Challenge

Feb 29, 2024