The Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) is a professional association of over 460 members across 187 public entities, private businesses, and public-private partnerships. We engage business, education, and government leaders in key economic development initiatives to improve local communities and elevate Florida’s global competitiveness.
FEDC members are subject matter experts in economic, workforce and community development with extensive experience in marketing the competitive assets of the communities they serve. We believe that coordinated economic development is critical to Florida’s success, which is why we are committed to leading the following Florida 2030 Blueprint goals:
- Top state for gross domestic product and top quartile most diversified state economy
- Rural county share of Florida gross domestic product doubles
- 100% of regional economic development plans aligned with Florida 2030 goals
These efforts, underscored by the six key strategies outlined in the Florida Trade & Logistics 2030 Study, facilitate capital investment, job creation and a stable tax base resulting in increased prosperity for all Floridians.
FEDC members, through our research and education foundation, are focused on the development of Florida’s product – sites with infrastructure and a talent pipeline – to attract and grow manufacturers and related industries.
Historically, developments would occur adjacent to or as part of major airports and seaports leveraging policies and programs like Foreign Trade Zones and Alternative Site Framework. Through costly investment and rigorous documentation, a site could achieve “certification” by corporate real estate and site location consultant standards. While this approach has merit, many areas of Florida were left without the tools to similarly prepare.
In 2015, Duke Energy introduced a pilot program to help local economic development organizations (EDOs) identify, analyze, and prioritize sites suitable for high value uses such as light industrial, R&D, or intermodal. Subsequently, additional funding from Enterprise Florida and utility partners expanded the program leading to landowner engagement and funding to advance priority sites through comprehensive plan amendments, design and engineering, and construction of roads and utilities. This has led to a robust database of Strategic Sites in all pockets of Florida, and it has strengthened Regional Planning Council Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), connecting EDOs and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in planning and preparation.
Going forward there is opportunity to implement a proactive state level site development program that aligns the most impactful attributes of the Strategic Sites Identification (SSI) process, the Job Growth Grant Fund, the Rural Infrastructure Fund, DOT funding, and local participation. Decoupling the often-required “bird in hand,” wherein state incentives require an active prospect from site-specific infrastructure investments, especially in rural Florida, will expand Florida’s ability to meet the demanding timelines of businesses making new market investments.
Exciting things are happening in workforce development. With support from Florida Power & Light, a new statewide Talent Attraction Campaign is poised to elevate Florida’s ability to provide the type of talent our businesses are craving. Close collaboration with regional EDOs leading similar talent magnets will give Florida a state level platform and strengthen awareness of professionals and families making a Florida decision. CareerSource Florida, the Florida Department of Education, our 28 state colleges and close to 50 technical centers are aligning with FEDC member EDOs and regional workforce boards in growing apprenticeships and defining business-informed credentials of value. Equally important is addressing workforce housing.
Redesigning Florida’s Economic Development Toolkit
Florida Trade & Logistics 2030 emphasizes a goal of becoming a top 5 manufacturing state, which will require a redesign of Florida’s Economic Development Toolkit, a job for which FEDC members are particularly suited. Whether building capacity for Florida’s smallest communities through Competitive Florida, supporting Florida’s privately held second-stage companies with GrowFL, or implementing Strategic Sites Identification, FEDC members have been integral to each solution. No one knows better who our competition is and where we need to improve Florida’s product, policy, or pipeline to meet business timelines, mitigate cost and uncertainty, and address job creation drivers.
We look forward to joining the Florida Chamber Foundation at the Florida Housing Conference in August and the Florida Planning Conference in early September to share the mission of the Florida 2030 Blueprint, Florida Trade & Logistics 2030, and the solutions we are driving.
Beth Cicchetti, CEcD
Florida Economic Development Council, Inc.
FEDC Foundation, Inc.