By: Dave Sobush, CEcD, Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation
Last Friday, the latest job numbers were released for Florida revealing an ever-tightening hiring environment. While Florida continues to grow jobs – over the past year, Florida has created 1 in 10 US jobs – demand for labor continues to outstrip supply. The number of unemployed Floridians fell by 2,000 in the past month and our unemployment rates stands at 2.6%, a full point lower than the national average. Bottom line – for every 100 open jobs employers are seeking to fill, only 70 Floridians are looking for work.
To address this, momentum continues to build in our Florida Chamber Foundation’s efforts to create the nation’s best workforce, right here in Florida. As mentioned in last month’s FL 2030 Benchmarks, the we are currently conducting the research phase of the Florida Workforce Needs Study 2.0. This is a 24-month research project that will provide insight into how Florida businesses and educational institutions can partner to advance the hard and soft skills needed to narrow Florida’s workforce skills gaps and improve our talent pipeline.
Research objectives are to:
- Gain insight regarding current and emerging skills needs,
- Catalog best practices in employer-educator partnerships, and
- Identify ways to maximize utilization of training support initiatives
This past week, our research team traveled to Pensacola and Jacksonville, meeting with employers in a peer-to-peer environment. The good news – these employers love doing business in Florida and are all-in on our efforts to grow Florida’s economy to the 10th largest in the world by 2030. While struggling to find employees, they continue to work closely with our education providers to establish world-class training programs. We learned of one manufacturing employer who, when faced with a vacant instructor position at their local state college, worked with the administration to get one of their senior employees hired by the college to teach a critical course in computer numeric controlled (CNC) machining – benefitting the company, the college program and the manufacturing cluster as a whole in that region; a win-win-win.
Additionally, in a parallel research program, the Foundation is conducting deep labor market research and employer interviews to catalog and quantify the soft skills – key employability attributes such as communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving – gaps job creators are facing around Florida.
All learnings will inform strategies and policy recommendations as part of the final report of research findings, to be released in late 2023.
If your company employs workers in the following skill areas, we invite you to join us at an upcoming employer focus group.
- Manufacturing/Construction/Skilled Trades
- Information Technology
- Professional Services/Business and Finance
Remaining focus groups will be held in the following regions:
If you have any questions or to learn more, please connect with me directly at email@example.com.