Why Florida? Reasons to Do Business in Florida
Seven solid answers to the question why locating and expanding your business in Florida just makes good sense.
Florida’s workforce — 4th largest in the U.S. — is one of the nation’s best qualified and most culturally diverse. No Floridian lives more than 50 miles from an institution of postsecondary learning, and the number of Floridians with associate, bachelor and advanced degrees has increased at almost double the national rate since 2000; Florida is 11th among all states for workers with advanced degrees.
One of Florida’s greatest assets is the multiplicity of its labor pool. More than 3.2 million Florida residents were born outside the U.S., and 4.4 million are speakers of languages other than English. Best represented are speakers of Spanish (3.2 million), Indo-European languages (875,000) and Asia and Pacific Islander languages (218,000). Since the turn of the 21st century, Florida has gained more than half a million new residents originating from other countries, and about 80,000 new immigrants settle into the state each year. And with 27,000 students from outside the U.S. enrolled at its colleges and universities in the 2007-2008 academic year, Florida ranks 6th among U.S. states in number of international students.
Florida is particularly adept at growing talent, and no wonder. Eight of Florida’s colleges and universities were ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report in its 2010 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” University of Florida and Florida State University earned No. 15 and No. 48 ranks, respectively, on the Top Public Schools: National Universities list, while the University of Miami ranked No. 50 on the overall Best National Universities list. Among private colleges, Rollins College in Winter Park ranked 1st among 121 Southern master’s-level universities. Sarasota-based New College of Florida was the nation’s No. 5 ranked Public Liberal Arts College, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University retained its top ranking for the 10th year in a row for Best Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering Programs in the U.S.
High-tech employment is another Florida strength. According to TechAmerica’s 2009 Cyberstates report, Florida ranks 4th among America’s largest cyberstates with a total of 22,700 high-tech companies employing 280,300 high-tech workers and a payroll of close to $19 billion in 2007 (most recent data). The computer systems design and related services sector alone added 4,100 jobs.
The demand for skilled labor in Florida is answered by training programs designed to meet the needs of the state’s leading industries. Customized programs and incentives, such as Quick Response Training, Incumbent Worker Training and the industry-specific Banner Centers provide skilled labor to employers in less time and at lower costs.
Florida is one of only 10 states with a right-to-work provision in its constitution, and, at about 6.4%, Florida has one of the lowest unionization rates in the U.S. and the 3rd lowest in manufacturing (2.6%).
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