February 23, 2024

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Continuing to Deliver on Florida's Workforce Needs

David Denor | 10/1/2023

As I meet with business executives from across the state, the number one topic that comes up in our conversations is the importance and need for Florida to continue to grow its workforce.

Florida’s unemployment rate hovers around a low 2.7%; conversely, we have nearly 600,000 open positions across the state. Many of these are well-paying jobs across various industry sectors ranging from manufacturing to logistics, construction, technology, health care, education, transportation and other sectors.

As the Sunshine State’s economy continues to grow and expand and its population grows at a steady clip with nearly 1,000 people moving to Florida each day, it is imperative that we merge these two data points to keep Florida’s growth trajectory moving in the right direction.

A large solution to Florida’s workforce needs can be found through its 28 state colleges. Working together and independently, these institutions are paving the way to tomorrow’s workforce solutions. Florida state colleges are directly responsible for more than 650,000 enrolled students and award over 120,000 degrees and certificates annually.

Working directly with Florida’s sectors, the state colleges listen to local businesses and work with them to devise and create educational programs focused on the specific needs of those businesses in their communities. It is a true partnership between postsecondary educators and Florida’s business community.

The Florida College System has recently been strengthened through new funding from the state Legislature, allowing for even more targeted efforts against meeting Florida’s labor needs. You can learn more specifics (pages 51 to 105) from many of Florida’s state colleges on how they are working to tackle workforce issues in their individual communities.

Elsewhere in this issue, Florida Trend Associate Editor Art Levy examines Florida’s workforce issues by taking a close look at a private institution, Beacon College, and how they are helping students with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and other differences to navigate college curriculum, obtain a degree and prepare for future careers. Starting on page 116, you can learn more about all that President George Hagerty and Beacon College’s staff are doing to guide students down the path of success.

Continuing our workforce coverage, Florida Trend editors delve into one of Florida’s growing industry sectors — manufacturing. They look at hotspots and growing companies across the state and the impact that the sector is having on both the regional and statewide economies. You can learn more beginning on page 124.

Through strategic partnerships between Florida’s post-secondary educators and Florida’s business community, the opportunities are endless for Florida’s sustained growth.

— David G. Denor, Publisher ddenor@floridatrend.com

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