Dr. Angela Falconetti on Workforce Skills of the Future

By: Florida Chamber Foundation

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.”