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

By: Edie Ousley

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.