August 20, 2014

Building a Workforce for the Future

Ginger Broslat | 1/1/2008

“The private sector will be driving policies and focus to meet future workforce needs.” - Monesia Brown, Agency for Workforce Innovation Director, Tallahassee
[Photo: Ray Stanyard]
Monesia Brown took the helm of the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI), Florida’s workforce development agency, in December 2006, and has since been charting its critical course. A key component of that effort is working with large international employers to determine their future workforce needs and then, planning accordingly to meet those needs.

“Our agency is creating Banner Centers across the state, based on input from the private sector employers as to what their future needs will be,” Brown explains. And once those needs are identified, the Banner Centers work with local education systems, in both high schools and community colleges, to provide the necessary training.

“While these are challenging times for our state and national economy,” says Brown, “there is also a wealth of opportunity. By nature, we as people seem to be more innovative when we are challenged. There have been great programs and policies established in the past that are still effective, but we must also look for new ways to accomplish our goals.”

Brown believes it will take partnerships between business and education to develop a future workforce that will not only meet the needs of current employers, but help attract new businesses and revenues to our state.

“The good news for Florida is we know the younger, more highly skilled workforce has shifted from the traditional mindset of job location. You used to move to areas where there was a job. Now, people are moving to where they want to live and looking for a job after relocation. With a desirable climate and communities that are attractive to many diverse populations, Florida has the ability to attract great talent to our state. With strong talent pools come strong companies.”

Brown is confident that the right people are aligned together at the right time to pull our state through a difficult economy.

“I have a responsibility as an agency director, but also as a business leader, to do everything in my power to keep our economy on track and moving forward. We are fortunate to have many strong business leaders across the state with that same outlook. I think the future looks pretty bright for the Sunshine State.”

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