Ready for Work
Growing businesses need skilled workers and Florida is ready to supply them. At 10.3 million, Florida’s civilian workforce is third largest in the nation and one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse. Just over 20% of Floridians were born outside the U.S., and nearly one-third speak a language other than English at home.
Florida’s workforce is highly trained and widely respected. In 2019, Business Facilities magazine once again named Florida No. 6 among all U.S. states for workforce training. Here, a well-honed combination of superior educational resources and practical training programs that may be customized to individual company and/or industry needs ensures that employers in Florida are readily able to connect with the right skilled workers at all levels.
Florida is home to 12 public universities and 28 public state and community colleges, plus dozens of private colleges, universities and technical schools — and no Floridian lives more than 50 miles from at least one of them. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida the best state in the nation for higher education for a third consecutive year, citing factors such as the time it takes for students to complete two- and four-year programs and the cost of in-state tuition and fees.
Florida’s colleges and universities are among the nation’s top producers of STEM graduates, a contributing factor to this state’s rankings for net tech employment jobs added (No. 2) and for net tech employment rank and innovation (No. 4), according to the 2019 ComTIA Cyberstates tech workforce report. Two Florida colleges — Indian River State and Miami Dade — were awarded the biennial Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2019, and two Florida universities were ranked among the top 20 worldwide for the number of U.S. utility patents they earned in 2019 — University of Florida at No. 15 with 115 patents and University of South Florida at No. 16 with 108 patents.
Florida schools earn accolades at the local level too. Among the first states to offer voluntary pre-kindergarten, Florida continues to lead the nation at No. 1 in Advanced Placement exam participation and comes in at No. 3 for AP success rates with 32.3% of participants scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school. Additionally, 23 Florida high schools earned a place among the nation’s top 250 on U.S. News & World Report’s “2020 Best High Schools” list with Miami’s School for Advanced Studies leading the national pack at No. 4.
Training programs available through CareerSource Florida, the state’s innovative partnership for workforce training, make it possible for business owners to become fully operational and profitable in less time and at lower cost. The agency’s Quick Response Training and Incumbent Worker Training grants help new and existing companies keep pace with changing technologies as they recruit and train employees in cutting-edge skills. The user-friendly Employ Florida Marketplace platform helps job seekers find work and employers connect with prospective job candidates.