While Florida’s economy relies strongly upon the agricultural, tourism, and construction sectors as economic drivers, our state is ranked 24th nationally in industry diversification. Strong growth is taking place in five of the state’s eight targeted industry clusters and these industries represent strong opportunities for middle-skill jobs and continued diversification.
Industry growth is being seen in aerospace and aviation; health care and life sciences; manufacturing; logistics and distribution; and financial and professional services. As Florida becomes more diversified, Florida businesses are experiencing a growing skills gap.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity:
- 248,300 positions remain open today (6/2017)
- 67,000 of these are STEM-related jobs
As we look out to 2020, we must consider what our employment needs will be for our growing population.
According to the Florida Chamber Foundation, more than 894,000 jobs will be needed in Florida by 2020 in order to maintain a 6 percent unemployment rate, more if we want to improve beyond that. As we prepare for the future, we must decide today what type of economy we want for Florida residents and visitors. It is important that we look at the skill gaps in our workforce and put into place a plan to fill this gap. To continue on this same path could have a detrimental effect on Florida’s economy.
Changes in job requirements and new innovations are prompting many workers to think about lifetime commitments to ongoing job training. A new Pew Research Center survey finds many Americans see the need for ongoing training as essential to being successful and often go beyond what is required by their employers:
- More than half of adults in the labor force say it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.
- And 35 percent of workers, including about three-in-ten adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, say they don’t have the education and training they need to get ahead at work.
- Pew Research Center
The State of American Jobs – How the shifting economic landscape is reshaping work and society and affecting the way people think about the skills and training they need to get ahead