Make Florida’s Workforce Globally Competitive

Learn More About Florida 2030 Continue the Conversation at the Future of Florida Forum

By: Doug Davidson, Market Executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Chair of the Florida Chamber Foundation

Published in the Tampa Bay Times

If you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop computer or the possibility of driverless vehicles roaming the streets of Tampa? Today’s world is dominated by innovation, guiding the creation of entirely new jobs and changing the way industries operate.

To compete in today’s global markets and build on our recent successes, Florida will need to think strategically about how to build success for 2030 and beyond. Florida’s workforce must be prepared for jobs that may not exist today and may require new skills and an entirely new way of thinking.

The Florida Chamber Foundation traveled to all 67 counties and heard from more than 10,000 Floridians as part of Florida 2030, a three-year, once-a-decade, blueprint for Florida’s future. Its findings echo the No. 1 concern of businesses — that in order to succeed, Florida must develop, attract and retain a globally oriented workforce.

The recommendations released at the foundation’s annual Learners to Earners Workforce Summit show that talent is the key currency of the future. Will Florida take advantage of the opportunities in the disruptions just around the corner or will we lag behind? The future depends on us making the right choice by investing in the young men and women who will lead us in the years ahead.

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Visit to download the Drivers for Florida’s Future report, which covers all Six Pillars of Florida’s growth, and learn how you can get involved.

Did You Know Middle-Skill Jobs Account for 55% of Florida’s Labor Market?



Research shows that middle-skill jobs account for 55 percent of Florida’s labor market, but only 46 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level. View additional findings in the National Skills Coalition’s Florida’s Forgotten Middle

For information on workforce data in your community, visit

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Let the Florida Chamber Foundation Know What You Think About Workforce News

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A Guide to Workforce

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

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Securing Florida’s Future Includes You

The Florida Chamber Foundation leads the state in future-focused research and continues to be a catalyst for positive change. But, we need your help to secure Florida’s future. Getting involved is easy.




 You can help drive Florida’s future. Get involved by contacting Aaron Kinnon at 850-521-1253.