2017 Learners to Earners Summit Asks, Are We Ready?

Florida’s Cradle to Career Continuum- Are We Ready for the Future?

Leaders Gather in Orlando Today to Discuss at 2017 Learners to Earners Summit


ORLANDO, Fla. (June 14, 2017) – Business, workforce and education leaders are gathered in Orlando today for Day Two of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Learners to Earners Education Summit.

“Business, education and workforce leaders have shared time and again that conversations on Florida’s cradle to career continuum matter to Florida’s economy.  But as we plan for 2030 and beyond, how can we ensure these conversations help drive our state forward?” said TONY CARVAJAL, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber Foundation. “We’ve visited every county in Florida and have found that education is key to ensuring our state’s success and opens the door to important conversations on healthcare, economic development, prosperity and more.”


Day One Recap:

Day One focused on the importance of early learning, and the critical role Florida’s business community plays in our future. Attendees heard from mayors and elected officials during a Special Session on Afterschool and Summer Opportunities, who provided great insight on how communities can work together to ensure students are successful year-round.

 “There is nothing more important than doing our jobs to ensure that every student has an opportunity to accomplish their goals,” said CHANCELLOR HERSHEL LYONS, Florida Department of Education.


Day Two Highlights Include:

The Case for Businesses to Get Involved in Education

  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Development started off the morning with a call to action for businesses.

“I challenge all employers today to have a conversation with your higher education institutes,” said CISSY PROCTOR, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Development. “The first step toward prosperity…is education. We know that when you learn more, you earn more.”

What Does Florida’s Education and Workforce Future Look Like?

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent Florida Wins video released today takes a closer look at where Florida is and, more importantly, where we need to be.  Access the video at

Futurist Asks: Who Do You Want To Become In 2025, Florida?

  • Mary O’Hara Devereaux, CEO of Global Foresight and world-renowned futurist shared her outlook on where the nation, and where Florida, needs to be.

“Education and business need to become better partners, and this isn’t a ‘nice’ thing to do – it’s a critical thing to do. This has to happen at multiple levels – it can’t be that you just learn when you get to a corporation. There has to be input, advice, decision making about K-12 between business and education. And they have to have, not just a voice at the table, but they have to have a vote at the table about what kind of knowledge and skills young children need today, even at preschool education,” said MARY O’HARA DEVEREAUX, CEO of Global Foresight. “I think we need radical innovation in the relationships between business and education…and we don’t have any time to lose.”

A Conversation With Florida’s State University System: Connecting Business & Research to Florida’s Future Economy

  • Dr. David Norton, Vice President for Research at the University of Florida and Beverly Seay, a member of the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the University’s College of Engineering & Computer Science Dean’s Advisory Board, discussed the importance of research and innovation at the state’s universities, as well as how best the employer community can work with higher education institutions.
  • Emily Sikes, Director of Workforce Education & Economic Development at the State University System of Florida, walked attendees through the State University System’s new website, – A Higher Degree for Business. is a portal for businesses to recruit and interns and recent grads.

Commissioner’s Business Recognition Luncheon

  • Commissioner Pam Stewart discussed Florida’s progress and honored the businesses and organizations that go above and beyond in education, workforce and more.

The afternoon’s panels:

A Conversation With Florida’s State College System: Securing Pathways for Florida’s Future Earners

  • Chancellor Madeline Pumariega, Florida College System
  • Ava Parker, President, Palm Beach State College
  • Mike O’Neill, Site Manager, Pratt & Whitney
  • Marlene Spalten, President and CEO, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

Conversation With CareerSource Florida: Career Readiness for Florida’s Jobs in 2030

  • Michelle Dennard, President and CEO, CareerSource Florida
  • Pam Nabors, President and CEO, CareerSource Central Florida
  • Angela Pate, President and CEO, Focused Management Solutions



The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. Visit for more information.

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