Florida Chamber Healthcare Partnership Survey


Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees is seeking your input on the CDC’s newest guidelines regarding masks and cloth coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.



Florida Chamber Healthcare Partnership Survey
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Small Business Loan Survey


There are several loan programs to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Senator Marco Rubio worked extensively on the CARES Act, which primarily benefits small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program.  As we continue conversations with Senator Rubio, the congressional delegation, our partners in the banking industry and at the SBA and SBDC, your input will help us guide future changes to these lending program to ensure small businesses are getting the support that they need.



Small Business Loan Survey
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Are the Kids in Your County Ready for Kindergarten?

Are Florida’s Kindergartners Ready for the Future?

On February 17, the Florida Department of Education released the Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) results for 2019-20 that show 53 percent of children were prepared for Kindergarten. The FLKRS is a tool that helps determine if children entering public school kindergarten have the foundational skills that are important as they begin school.

The current statewide score is unchanged from the previous year’s results of 53 percent. To see the FLKRS scores for your county, visit TheFloridaScorecard.org.

Developing these important life skills begins early. If children are behind in kindergarten, there is a ripple effect that can impact their education and future success.

Establishing a strong foundation is crucial as our economy and workforce needs change. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s recently released Florida Workforce 2030 report states that robots, automation, artificial intelligence, new innovations and technology are all changing the landscape of what will be required of Florida’s workforce, and the skills that Florida students will need as they plan their future.

Download Your Free Copy

Florida Workforce 2030, an Industry Roundtable and Survey Summary, along with Industry Career Path details for Florida’s five targeted growth sectors, are available at www.FLChamber.com/FloridaWorkforce2030.

Florida Workforce 2030 Shows Changing Landscape of the ‘World of Work’ Requires New Skills

92% of Industry Leaders Poised to Hire, Yet 81% Concerned About Lack of Employability Skills

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 13, 2020) – Robots, automation, artificial intelligence, new innovations and technology are significantly changing the landscape of what will be required of Florida’s workforce, and the skills that Florida students will need as they plan their future, according to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s latest report Florida Workforce 2030. While industry leaders are poised to hire, they’re increasingly concerned about the lack of employability skills.

With the world of work becoming increasingly complex, to remain globally competitive, Florida must lead by developing, attracting and retaining a strong talent pool, Florida Workforce 2030 explains.

“To build America’s best workforce in Florida, we must prepare students for global competition. That means better aligning programs and standards with future job demands, training and attracting the best and brightest for advancement and new careers, and increasing economic prosperity for all Floridians – starting with our youngest learners,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Through a series of industry leader roundtables, surveys and research, Florida Workforce 2030 shows that five of Florida’s targeted growth sectors – Aviation and Aerospace, Financial and Professional Services, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Trade and Logistics – will require talent that embraces technological advancements, artificial intelligence, automation and innovation. According to the report, industry leaders reveal that:

“I applaud the Florida Chamber’s focus on workforce education and supporting Governor DeSantis’ goal of becoming the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. With Florida’s population growing to more than 26 million by 2030, it is imperative that we focus on building a talented and highly skilled workforce to fill the jobs of the future. I look forward to working with the Governor, Legislature and Chamber to ensure that goal,” said Florida Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran.

To prepare for projected shifts in Florida’s labor market, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Workforce 2030 highlights five core recommendations for policymakers, educators and Florida’s business community to unite around. They are:

  1. Recommit to long-term, continuous strengthening of every stage of our education system by providing career pathways focused on industry needs. This includes adults needing to upskill, re-skill or complete a credential to be competitive in the workplace, as well as for middle and high school students in order to increase educational attainment levels.
  2. Emphasize work-based learning opportunities as part of education in high school and beyond and all students should be encouraged to earn at least one high-quality, industry-recognized certification to ensure that they graduate with career and workforce competencies that are valued by employees.
  3. Identify strategies that address equity gaps to ensure upward mobility opportunities for all Floridians. Closing the educational attainment and labor participation gaps in Florida between racial and ethnic groups, as well as urban and rural populations, is essential to Florida’s future.
  4. Invest economic development dollars in proven, scalable training programs for adults and other incumbent workers while creating public-private partnerships through targeted incentives, and re-training for high-demand jobs that will help build local talent pipelines.
  5. Utilize data to inform policy and best practices including metrics that measure education attainment, employment, earnings, future population and workforce needs.

Florida Workforce 2030 was presented to Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Senate President Bill Galvano, House Speaker Jose Oliva, and members of the Florida Talent Development Council which was established by Governor DeSantis to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st-century workforce.

Florida Workforce 2030, along with an Industry Roundtable and Survey Summary along with Industry Career Path details for Florida’s five targeted growth sectors, are available at www.FLChamber.com/FloridaWorkforce2030.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

“CareerSource Florida applauds the Florida Chamber Foundation for its ongoing work to help Governor DeSantis ensure our state becomes No. 1 in the nation in workforce education. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this important research through state and local perspectives on the evolution of talent development needs for Florida’s growing industries.” Michelle Dennard, President and CEO, CareerSource Florida

“Workforce development education is a major factor to secure Florida’s economic prosperity for years to come, and I am proud to support Governor DeSantis’ goal of Florida leading the nation in workforce development by 2030. I commend the Florida Chamber’s spotlight on building a talent pipeline that will lead to innovation and competitiveness, ultimately resulting in higher wages and a sustainable economy. Florida’s future looks especially bright and I am looking forward to working with Governor DeSantis, the Legislature and the Florida Chamber to make these important strategic goals a reality.” Dr. Eric Hall, Chancellor for Innovation, Florida Department of Education

“The Florida Chamber Foundation has set the course for adopting a data-driven approach to meeting Florida’s future workforce needs.  The Florida Workforce 2030 report aligns perfectly with the Florida 2030 Blueprint and after listening to the needs of employers across the state, provides long-term recommendations for a 21st century workforce.” Todd Powell, Vice President of Real Estate, Weyerhaeuser & Chair, Florida Chamber Foundation

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Survey Says…Workforce Quality Still Keeping Job Creators Up at Night

Even though Florida is outpacing the national average is jobs created, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s First Quarter Small Business Index Survey show that workforce continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses. The is the 11th quarter out of 12 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern.

“While Florida’s job creators should expect a strong 2020, continuing to outpace the nation in job creation, they continue to be highly concerned about finding qualified workers.”

Dr. Jerry Parrish
Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation

While the probability of a recession is declining, Florida’s job creators are now much more concerned about government regulations and mandates for Florida businesses, which entered the top three.

The Florida Chamber’s first quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

• Workforce Quality – 28 percent
• Healthcare Costs – 13 percent
• Government Regulations – 12 percent
• Economic Uncertainty – 10 percent
• Lawsuit Abuse – 4 percent

Despite their concern about workforce quality, job creators expect higher sales than last year. Of Florida small businesses, 69 percent of respondents expect to have higher sales than the previous year. Additionally, 49 percent of respondents expect to hire in the next six months, up from 39 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

Glenda Hood
Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council
Member, Florida Chamber Board of Directors
President, Hood Partners

Click here to download the full report.

Get Involved

The Florida Chamber recognizes that small business is big business. To learn more about becoming a member of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or (850) 521-1235.

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda

FLORIDA CHAMBER’S 2020 JOBS AGENDA

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to www.TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: Florida Polytechnic’s President Dr. Randy Avent

On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Florida Polytechnic’s President Dr. Randy Avent, explains how the university is helping keep their STEM-trained students in Florida to fill jobs and grow Florida’s economy.

“The average salary across the state [for recent college graduates] is about $46,000,” said Avent. “But students that are in our fields are getting about $82,000. So, they’re making about $40,000 more over their career, and that is contributing to economic development.”

The need for skilled workers continues to be the number one concern among job creators across Florida. This is the 10th quarter in a row that the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey ranked workforce quality as the top issue of concern.

Get Involved

Is Florida’s Workforce Ready? Talent is Florida’s best economic development tool, and the Florida Chamber is uniting Florida’s business community to ensure Florida’s workforce is ready to meet the future needs. Save the date for the Florida Chamber’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, slated for June 16-18 in Orlando. Email Tracey Lowe at tlowe@flfoundation.org to get involved.

Florida’s Small Businesses Point to Workforce Quality as Top Concern Keeping Them Up at Night

Despite Concern, Job Creators Anticipate Higher Sales

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 22, 2019) — Even though Florida is outpacing the national average in jobs created, workforce quality continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey. This is the 10th quarter out of 11 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern. Despite this concern, job creators expect higher sales than last year.

“It is likely that Florida will continue to outpace the U.S. in terms of job growth in 2020,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Although Florida’s small businesses are not quite as optimistic about their outlook for the economy as in past surveys, 70 percent of them expect to have higher sales next year than during the previous year.” See additional commentary from Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish in his latest By The Numbers program.

While the probability of a recession is improving, according to the latest data on TheFloridaScorecard.org, economic uncertainty remains a top small business owner concern, survey results reveal. Despite this concern, Florida’s overall economy is robust and expanding, and in fact, it has become the 16th most diversified economy in the country, and unemployment numbers continue to decline.

The Florida Chamber’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 28%
  2. Economic Uncertainty – 14%
  3. Growth Management Process – 12%
  4. Healthcare Costs – 9%
  5. Government Regulation – 8%

Of Florida’s small businesses:

  • 49 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve over the next three years,
  • 41 percent of responders believe their business is better off now than it was just six months ago, and
  • 41 percent of businesses have plans to make investments in plants or equipment, down from 43 percent one year ago.

“Workforce quality continues to be the number one concern of Florida’s small businesses, with economic uncertainty coming in second,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, Hood Partners. “Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically September 10 through October 14, 2019. Thirty-four percent of respondents employ less than five employees, while 49 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at AKinnon@FlFoundation.org.

A Talented Workforce and the Rising Probability of a Recession Leave Florida’s Small Businesses Feeling Uncertain

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 22, 2019)— While Florida’s small businesses continue boosting the state’s economy, finding qualified workers to fill available jobs tops the list of issues keeping small business owners up at night, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Third Quarter Small Business Index Survey show. 

“Florida’s small businesses continue to be concerned about being able to hire a talented workforce,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Improving Florida’s talent pipeline for a better workforce will help ensure jobs have talented employees, and will help put workers on the path to prosperity – leading goals of Florida 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan.”

Concerns over a likely recession are also creating economic uncertainty among job creators, the survey shows. However, while Florida’s small businesses are cautious, the state’s economy is healthy and expanding. Florida is now the 18th most diversified economy in the country, and there are rising numbers of open jobs and a declining amount of people looking for jobs.

The Florida Chamber’s third quarterly statewide Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 27%

2. Economic Uncertainty – 12%

3. Growth Management Process – 8%

4. Government Regulations – 7%

5. Healthcare Costs – 7%

Of Florida’s small businesses, 47 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 57 percent one year ago and 70 percent two years ago. They also felt that a positive indicator for businesses is that 24 percent of respondents thought it would be easier to get financing in the next six months, compared to 15 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Florida’s economy is dependent on the small business community, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and President, Hood Partners LLC.

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically June 6 through July 5, 2019. Fifty-six of respondents employ less than five employees, while 32 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Chamber Summit: Apprenticeships pay dividends for businesses

“It’s a feeding program that saves us so much money.”

Apprenticeships can help workers advance through their careers, but they can also be of great benefit to the businesses that take advantage of them.

During a panel at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit, a trio of business leaders discussed how sponsoring apprenticeship programs have helped them keep employees longer and save them money.

Julie Combs, a deputy site director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said the company’s apprenticeship program has seen her perform “stay interviews” as often as exit interviews.

Click here to read the complete Florida Politics article.

In Global Talent War for Jobs, State Leaders Turn to Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit To Help Prepare Florida’s Talent for Jobs of the Future

Orlando, Fla. (June 18, 2019) – With talent quickly becoming the economic development tool of choice, Florida is in a global talent war for jobs, statewide leaders attending the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit said today.

As Florida prepares to add 4.5 million more residents and create 1.5 million more jobs by 2030, we must set Florida up for success and remain globally competitive by ensuring we have a strong talent pipeline to fill the jobs of the future,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, educators from across the cradle to career continuum, business leaders and elected officials are gathering today for the first of the day-and-a-half summit.

“Lifelong learners are earners,” Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, said in keynote remarks to the sold-out event. “And there is nothing more important than a world class education system. Education is everything”

Just minutes before going on-stage, Commissioner Corcoran sat down for a quick interview with the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program, and talked about his passion for school choice, his first session as Florida’s Education Commissioner, and how workforce education is changing. Watch the full interview below.

Key take aways from Day 1 of the Learners to Earners Workforce Summit:

  • A focus on employability skills, growing industries in Florida and the need to better identify the skills employers need for jobs that may not exist today.
  • A preview of a new Florida 2030 report — Employability Skills Framework – was released for a 60 day comment period.
  • Key speakers in addition to Commissioner Corcoran:
    • Representative Vance Aloupis, Jr.
    • Zack Gibson, Director and Chief Child Advocate, Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection
    • Representative Mel Ponder
    • Todd Powell, Vice President for Real Estate Development, Weyerhaeuser Company
    • Madeline Pumariega, Executive Vice President and Provost, Tallahassee Community College
    • Madeleine Thakur, Chief of Staff, The Children’s Movement of Florida

For a complete list of today’s events, click here for the full agenda.

Tomorrow, Day 2, will include a special focus on apprenticeships and the role of apprenticeship programs in meeting Florida’s skills gap. New data from TheFloridaScorecard.org  will be released, and will highlight the number of active apprentices in Florida and the growing number of apprenticeship programs. Speakers will include:

  • Michelle Dennard, President & CEO, CareerSource Florida
  • Ken Lawson, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Michael Myhre, State Director, Florida SBDC Network
  • Dr. Tonjua Williams, President, St. Petersburg College

Click here for a full list of speakers and the full agenda.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Releases 2019 Legislative Report Card

98 Lawmakers Earn A’s and B’s; 59 Earn C’s, D’s, and F’s

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 21, 2019) – Ninety-eight members of the Florida Legislature earned A’s or B’s on the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Legislative Report Card, and helped lower the cost of living and cost of doing business on families and job creators, while also preparing for future growth and protecting Florida’s constitution, the state’s leading voice of business and largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and business association partners announced today.

Many lawmakers earned higher grades this legislative session with their renewed focus on important competitiveness issues like:

  • Property insurance, lawsuit abuse, regulatory and targeted tax reforms,
  • Innovations in healthcare, and high-quality workforce education and apprenticeship programs, and
  • Key smart growth issues like transportation, energy grid hardening, and autonomous and innovations.

The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation, above special interests and their attempts to protect the status quo.

KEY DATA POINTS:
After tabulating more than 4,000 votes cast during the 2019 Legislative Session, data shows:

  • 98 lawmakers earned an A or B; 59 lawmakers earned a C, D or F.
  • Average GPA for both legislative chambers was 79.37 percent.
  • Senate GPA was 84.59 percent, up from 74 percent in 2018.
  • House GPA was 77.59 percent, down slightly from 79 percent in 2018.

“We believe in transparency and accountability, and the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is a fantastic tool for families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters to know if their elected officials voted in support of lowering the cost of living and reducing the cost of doing business, while also preparing for Florida’s future,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

TRANSPARENT GRADING PROCESS:
The Florida Chamber’s legislative grading process is both transparent and accountable.

  • The Florida Business Agenda (FBA) was announced during a news conference prior to the 2019 Legislative Session which was attended by bicameral members of the legislature, and dozens of leaders from throughout Florida’s business community.
  • The Florida Business Agenda, outlined in Where We Stand, was hand delivered and mailed to each member of the Florida Legislature.
  • Florida Chamber leadership met with numerous newspaper editorial boards, and legislators and staff in advance of session.
  • Most importantly, prior to each vote graded on the report card, a “Your Vote Matters” letter outlining the pro-business position and the Florida Chamber’s intent to score the vote was transmitted to voting members of the legislature – in total, about 4,000 scored votes letters were transmitted in advance.

Stay Tuned:
The Florida Chamber will soon announce 2019 legislative awards, including Distinguished Advocates and the Florida Chamber’s premier legislative award, the Most Valuable Legislator award. Past winners can be found here.

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Phasing Out VISIT FLORIDA Could Diminish Florida’s Leading Workforce Skills Training Ground Worsening Small Business Owners Access for Employees with Employability Skills

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 26, 2019)— If lawmakers phase out Florida’s tourism marketing program VISIT FLORIDA, it could greatly diminish the employability skills training ground the tourism and hospitality industry provide, putting greater strain on small businesses to identify and hire employees with needed workforce skills, the Florida Chamber of Commerce said today.

“As the future of VISIT FLORIDA is being debated in the Legislature, job creators around Florida continue to tell us workforce quality remains their top concern,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation. “What many people in Florida don’t realize is that Florida’s hospitality industry is one of the largest trainers of employability skills in the world. Florida hospitality companies are training employees for all of Florida’s companies— from manufacturing to trade & logistics, to business services, and more.”

Workforce quality tops out as the number one concern among Florida’s small businesses in the Florida Chamber’s second quarter Small Business Index Survey – jumping up from second place in quarter one. Overall top concerns include:

  1. Workforce Quality – 32%
  2. Economic Uncertainty – 10%
  3. Access to Capital – 10%
  4. Lawsuit Abuse – 7%
  5. Healthcare Costs – 7%
  6. Government Regulations – 7% 

When asked about Florida’s economic future, small businesses are optimistic, with 49 percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve, up from 44 percent last quarter. However, 38 percent of businesses expect the economy to weaken over the next year. 

“Workforce Quality resumed the top spot as the number one concern of Florida’s small businesses, with economic uncertainty and access to capital tying for second,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, Hood Partners LLC. “Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

About the Survey: The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically March 30 through April 19, 2019. Of the respondents, 31 percent employ less than five employees, while 48 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click here to view the full report.

Dr. Angela Falconetti on Workforce Skills of the Future

With a growing population and the need for 1.7 million net new jobs by 2030, Florida must take action today to have a strong, well prepared workforce in the future. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research states that innovation is transforming industries and jobs and the majority of jobs today require some form or post-secondary education or training.

In our latest Florida Horizon video series, Dr. Angela Falconetti, President of Polk State College discusses their partnerships with businesses in their region and the success they are seeing in providing a well trained workforce.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research states that innovation is transforming industries and jobs, and the majority of jobs today require some form of post-secondary education or training.

Dr. Falconetti on the importance of the partnerships between Polk State College and area businesses:

“We’re about partnering with our community to make sure our students have meaningful employment, and that we offer the quality education to make sure they fill our local workforce needs.”

In an effort to help ease the teacher shortage, Polk State College and Polk County Public School system established a new program — Establishing Leaders in Teacher Education (ELITE).

On how ELITE is helping create jobs within the education industry:

“We worked hand in hand with the Polk County Public School system to ensure we were positioning ourselves to meet the teacher shortage in Polk County. The ELITE program provides the student with the opportunity to complete their two- year degree – Associate of Arts – while they’re in high school, through dual enrollment, and then position themselves to pass the appropriate examination to pursue their final two years with us at Polk State.”

“Our goal and the superintendent’s goal is to make sure that we’re feeding the local workforce with regards to the teacher shortage, and in addition that we’re producing teachers that care and can provide quality instruction when they’re in the classroom.”

In order to improve Florida’s talent pipeline and continue to diversify Florida’s economy, it is important that we deepen and expand cross-sector collaboration to align higher education programs with targeted industry needs.


On how Polk State College is responding to the needs of employers in the region:

“We have a phenomenal partnership with JetBlue in which they (students) even get the opportunity to fly an airbus, so they get exposed to what the profession actually entails. They have the hands-on experience along with the academic experience at the college which is a pretty phenomenal experience for our students.”

On advice to Florida’s business community:

“There is no greater investment than the education of our populace. In my opinion, there is no greater investment than partnering with the state colleges in Florida because when we look at the workforce pipeline and we want to fill workforce needs, we can get people out of poverty or out of a lower socioeconomic base and into work with a skill that really  matters. Because in this day and age, having a skill is important in order to make a livable wage.”