A Sweet Spot for Hiring Top Talent
Northeast Florida provides a younger demographic for prospective employers, with training opportunities throughout the region.
Money magazine last year ranked Jacksonville as the seventh best U.S. city for job seekers, which is no surprise to Candace Moody, vice president of communications for CareerSource Northeast Florida.
With a median age of 39, three years younger than the rest of the state, Northeast Florida provides a younger demographic for prospective employers, with training opportunities throughout the region.
Besides the six colleges and universities in the seven-country Northeast Florida region, the area also draws graduates from the University of Florida and Florida State University.
Jacksonville offers a bigger and more diverse business climate than those students can find in Gainesville or Tallahassee, so many of them gravitate to the Northeast region as they enter the workforce.
“Jacksonville’s a natural place for them to come and start their careers,” Moody says.
Of course, many new entrants into the labor force find their way to Northeast Florida for academic reasons before starting their careers.
Jacksonville University draws students from all 50 states and 51 foreign countries, and three-quarters of them stay in the region after graduation.
The private university offers unique programs such as marine science and aviation management, as well as a strong business school.
Jacksonville’s state university, the University of North Florida, was recognized last year by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as one of 15 “diversity champions” among national colleges and universities.
|Education Level of Job Candidates|
The University of North Florida continues to accumulate academic recognition, including a “best regional” university for the seventh consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report. Meanwhile, UNF’s Coggin College of Business has been recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best business schools for 11 consecutive years.
UNF will have an entrepreneurship center located in downtown Jacksonville as soon as 2018.
The center will be a destination for anyone to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas. If there is potential, they will be given space at the center for six months to pursue the project.
Mark Dawkins, dean of the Coggin College of Business, is overseeing development. He looked at the top 50 most successful entrepreneur centers in the country for inspiration.
“When you look at entrepreneurship centers that are successful around the country, most have a university as part of that process,” said Dawkins.
Dawkins helped put together a task force including entrepreneurs from all five colleges at UNF. He wanted ideas from the college of arts, health, education and engineering as well as business.
UNF marketing students will be able to intern there for credit, and Dawkins also hopes non-marketing students who want entrepreneur experience will volunteer as well.
Dawkins wants the center to benefit not only UNF students, but the Jacksonville community as a whole.
“We are designing [the center] to be a living, learning lab for entrepreneurship,” says Dawkins. “It’s all about building a pipeline of entrepreneurs to benefit the city of Jacksonville.”