Mark Wilson, President & CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce
Florida is at a crossroads, and as we continue uniting the business community to ensure the right things happen in Florida, I am writing this afternoon with breaking news surrounding Florida’s workforce crisis. As you know, we track key Florida metrics tied to reaching our Florida 2030 Blueprint goals on the TheFloridaScorecard.org — and as of this morning, Florida currently has MORE jobs looking for people, than people looking for jobs. This is obviously unsustainable. Incredibly, there are currently 512,900 open jobs looking for people and 487,000 people looking for jobs.
Thanks to Governor DeSantis and a responsible business community, Florida has recovered 770,000 jobs since the start of COVID, meaning we still have to recover 503,200 jobs in Florida to get back to where we were pre-pandemic.
While it is encouraging to see jobs continue to grow in Florida, especially as we work to create two million more jobs by 2030, this is also an indicator that as job creators, uniting to continue moving our mission to secure Florida’s future forward is more important than ever.
Five years ago, at our annual Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit I said, “talent is quickly replacing the tax incentive as the most important tool in the economic development toolkit.” And this morning, at our Enterprise Florida board meeting, I was gratified to hear Vice Chair Holly Borgmann of ADT US Holdings, Inc. re-iterate that talent is important to economic development.
I am incredibly proud of our members who continue to invest in the Florida Chamber’s mission and help fuel the tools, resources, initiatives, policies and solutions that will move the needle in Florida and help us achieve the 39 goals outlined in the Florida 2030 Blueprint to help us grow from the 17th largest economy to the 10th largest economy in the world in the next 10 years.
As part of this update, I wanted to share a sample of the work your investment is funding and encourage you to continue engaging with us, utilizing these tools and spreading the word as we work to keep Florida, Florida. A few highlights:
- Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2021 Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit on Tuesday, June 15 in Orlando
There is still time to register HERE for the Florida Business Community’s annual solution summit on workforce where we will be uniting to discuss the importance of closing the gaps in the workplace, promising practices to upskill Florida’s workforce, and how businesses can create equal opportunities at earned success across Florida, one zip code at a time.
- Florida Chamber Foundation Florida Workforce Needs Study
Continuing our important research to find out how Florida’s business workforce needs are evolving and the effect the pandemic had on recruitment and training, the Florida Chamber Foundation launched the 2021 Workforce Needs Survey in December 2020 to hear directly from YOU – those who contribute to Florida’s economic success. The results are in and the data collected will help Florida prepare around your industry needs to ensure Florida remains a globally competitive workforce. The survey results have been incorporated into the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Workforce Needs Study. Our Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish will provide a high-level sneak peek of the study findings and its impact on the future of Florida at Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit, with the full study release launching in the very near future.
- Florida Chamber-championed education and workforce legislative wins to keep momentum going toward Florida 2030 Blueprint goals including:
- Early Learning and Childhood Literacy Measures: adding accountability to early education programs to improve kindergarten readiness and reading competency amongst our next generation workforce.
- Generational School Choice: empowering the parents of more than 61,000 Florida students to make the best education decisions for their children.
- Educational Opportunities Leading to Employment: Individuals will have greater access to postsecondary education by authorizing the use of alternative methods for assessing basic communication and computation skills of potential students who intend to enter a degree program at a Florida College System institution or to obtain initial eligibility in college credit dual enrollment courses.
- SkillBridge: Allowing Veterans Florida to serve as principal assistance organization under DOD’s SkillBridge program, allowing transitioning servicemembers to gain valuable civilian experience through specific industry training while connecting them to industry partners who are provided an opportunity to access and leverage the world’s most highly trained and motivated workforce at no cost. Training, retaining, and attracting the veteran workforce of tomorrow to maintain Florida’s competitive edge by creating a talent pipeline to fuel economic growth.
- Strong Leadership from Governor DeSantis to End Disincentive to Work by Pulling Out of the $300 Supplemental Federal Unemployment
The Florida Chamber thanks Governor DeSantis for his bold leadership steps recently taken to get Floridians back to work, addressing worker shortage issues facing Florida job creators, and continuing Florida’s economic momentum. These smart decisions to end the disincentive to work include the expiration of Florida’s work search and work registration requirement waiver due to the pandemic, and ending Florida’s participation in the $300 supplemental unemployment payment from the feds, effective June 26, 2021.I would especially like to thank our partners from local Chambers and Economic Development Councils to Industry Associations, CareerSource Florida and Florida’s Colleges and Universities for working with us to help grow our economy and create America’s best workforce.
All of this work coupled with strong leadership from Governor DeSantis and our legislature is poised to create an even more favorable climate for Florida’s job creators and provide job opportunities for Floridians who are ready to work. As I’ve said before, Florida is the best place in America for people who want to work and pursue opportunity. While many states locked down their businesses and residents, Florida remained open for business and stayed safe. With positive momentum, and as a united business community, we will reach our 2030 goals.
Simply put, we need more people in the workforce and we need a workforce that is trained with skills for the future. I hope you will join me next week at our 2021 Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit to champion solutions for Florida’s workforce shortage as talent will be the greatest asset for the future of Florida.Again, thank you for your leadership with the Florida Chamber.
As always, if you have ideas, suggestions for us, recommendations on members or you simply want to discuss our programs, please email me at [email protected] or call me directly at 850-521-1209.