Ava L. Parker, J.D. 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 of post-secondary education or training.

In our latest Florida Horizon video series, Ava Parker, President of Palm Beach State College, discusses their efforts to ensure future success for Florida students.

Palm Beach State College is the recent recipient of a $2 million grant to launch a new Center for Excellence in Engineering Technology.  Parker discusses the need to stay in close contact with industry leaders to ensure they can respond to changes in workforce needs.

“We’ve been staying in close contact with Aerojet Rocketdyne, Pratt Whitney and Sikorsky as they think of different ways to improve the aircraft industry, and how we can step along with them and ensure our graduates have the certificates that lead to the kinds of jobs that change their lives.”

One of the Key Targets of the Florida 2030 plan is for 60 percent of Floridians between the ages of 25 and 64 to have a high value post-secondary degree, certificate or training. Parker discusses Palm Beach State College’s efforts to help meet this target.

“When I think about the 2030 plan and the idea of increasing post-secondary credentials of all Floridians, I think of the Florida college system. I can’t think of any other delivery system for education in our state that is better equipped to do that. Someone who understands where a person is in life, that there may be an opportunity to earn a higher wage or go in a different direction.“

By 2030, we will be home to 26 million residents and one of the most diverse populations in the world. The Florida 2030 research initiative offers a strategic blueprint defining goals and strategies to guide private, public and civic partners as they work together to shape Florida’s economic future.

“One thing I think is so important about the Chamber’s 2030 report is that is really does provide a roadmap for communities throughout the state to follow as we determine our best investments. When I think specifically of Palm Beach County, I couple the information from Florida 2030 with our local business development board. What businesses are we looking to grow? What business are we looking to attract? And what skills will our workers need or our citizens need in order to fill that particular need in our state?”

On partnerships and closing the skills gap:

“When you make an investment in the Florida college system, it’s actually a real investment in the state of Florida. “

“When you say partners, I think about our government partners as well as our private industry partners because together I think we can reach the goals set by the Chamber.”

On the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Workforce Summit:

“Learners to Earners is one of the best statewide conversations on how education and academics work together with industry to reach our goals.”

“No one system can stand alone and assume we’re going to be successful in reaching the goals of 2030 or the goals for our state in general. It’s understanding we all play a part in that success.”