Florida’s Higher Education System Continues to Lead the Nation

We already know Florida ranks first in the nation for higher education, but did you also know Florida is in the top 10 in the nation for college affordability? The latest report from the College Board shows Florida continues to maintain its ranking as second in the nation in college affordability for public four-year institutions, and for public two-year institutions Florida’s position moved up to the 7th spot.

Check out TheFloridaScorecard.org for the latest College Affordability data, new data on apprenticeship programs in Florida, as well as metrics that impact your community’s economy.

“Our economy increasingly requires employees to have some form of postsecondary education or training. Eliminating barriers to postsecondary education is crucial to supporting businesses with a strong workforce. Among those barriers is affordability, and Florida remains a leader in affordability at its public higher education institutions. Our public higher education institutions will surely remain steadfast in eliminating barriers and preparing future and current employees for the changing needs of businesses.”

Gregory Adam Haile, Esq.,
President, Broward College; Trustee, Florida Chamber Foundation

Education Trends and News Updates

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Closing Florida’s Talent Gap by Improving Educational Opportunities


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Why It Matters to Florida

From local businesses to major corporations, a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. To secure Florida’s future, employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce. Florida wins when we close the gap by putting students ahead of special interests. The Florida Chamber will continue to champion the best education system for Florida.

The Florida Chamber’s focus includes:

  •  Preparing Students for Success
  • Innovation and Outcomes Are Essential
  • Quality School Choice Matters
  • Improving Attainment and Access to Higher Education
  • Preparing Florida’s Workforce to Address Florida’s Skills Gap

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

  • Preparing Students for Success
    Ensuring a talented workforce for tomorrow begins with empowering our youngest learners today. Preparing children to learn provides a foundation for future successes and helps them develop skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation-skills that re essential to their future success in the workforce.
  • Innovation and Outcomes Are Essential
    The Florida Chamber understands the importance of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Medicine) education in schools. We will continue to support a focus on STEMM concepts throughout Florida’s education system in order to ensure that Florida’s students become and remain globally competitive.
  • Quality School Choice Matters
    At the Florida Chamber we recognize that education is not a one-size-fits-all option. We continue to advocate for parents to have the freedom to choose the best learning environment for their children .
  • Preparing Florida’s Workforce to Address Florida’s Skills Gap
    Advocating for increased attainment and making college more affordable is a top priority for the Florida Chamber. In addition to adequately preparing Florida’s students to enter the workforce, we must also focus on attracting and retaining world class talent.
  • Improving Attainment and Access to Higher Education
    In order for Florida to remain one of the top business climates in the nation, we must increase educational opportunities in both higher education and in the 21st century vocational trades.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

We believe that a quality education and workforce development system is the best way to enable Floridians to compete in a 21st century global economy. Be a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Business Alliance for Early Learning and help us invest in the future of Florida’s students.


Lawmakers Vote to Improve Educational Opportunities

Sweeping education reforms that span cradle to career were just passed by the Florida Legislature.

In the area of Higher Education, SB 4 would expand the Bright Futures Scholarship and further cement Florida’s World Class State Universities.

This year’s K-12 omnibus bill, HB 7055, continues Florida’s school choice legacy by passing several student-centered policies.

From local business to major corporations, a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Florida wins when we close the gap by putting students ahead of special interests.


Legislative Session Coming to a Close

The 2018 Legislative Session is scheduled to end Friday, March 9. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is your number one resource for what passed, what didn’t, and what needs more work. Be on the lookout for the Florida Chamber’s end of session news brief.

How Many Florida Jobs Will Require Post-Secondary Education?


Recognizing the importance of post-secondary degree attainment for continued economic growth, research conducted by the Florida Department of Economic Research and the Lumina Foundation estimated that 64 percent of Florida jobs will require some form of post-secondary education by 2021. View additional findings in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Jobs 2030 Report

Research shows eighty-five percent of brain growth occurs by the time a child is three. As the child grows, research shows how access to early learning impacts their development.

  •  By 18 months of age, differences in vocabulary size are evident between families with higher education and income and families with lower education and income
  • A child should know 15-18 alphabet letters by the end of pre-K to have a strong chance of reading on grade level by the end of 1st grade.
  • Children who are not proficient readers by 3rd grade are 4 times less likely to graduate from high school on time

For information on post-secondary education, visit www.TheFloridaScorecard.org.  

Did You Know: Higher Education Attainment Means More Opportunities


While Florida remains a leader in the nation, our state will need to create two million net new jobs between now and 2030. There are currently 501,000 Floridians looking for jobs, and 242,600 Florida jobs looking for people.

Currently, Florida’s unemployment rate is at five percent. But depending on the level of education attainment, that number may be significantly lower or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a higher educational attainment level means a lower unemployment rate, more participation in the labor force and higher median weekly earnings.

What Does This Mean To You?

As we are preparing for a future where our state will need to create two million net new jobs between now and 2030, what can businesses do to ensure opportunities for every Floridian? Share your thoughts by taking this short survey.

Higher Education


Fueling Performance and Access

Why It Matters to Florida

Florida has officially surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the nation. As our population continues to grow, and its needs continue to rise, a well-rounded and competitive workforce will ensure a robust economic future for the state.

With nearly 77 million “baby boomers” on the verge of retirement, the gap between available skilled employees and jobs continues to increase. Florida must plan today for the needs of the future. Florida will need to create and fill two million net new jobs by 2030. Driving meaningful reforms that expand access to higher education will help our state remain competitive.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

The Florida Chamber supports funding Florida’s public colleges and universities based upon performance outcomes, which encourage our higher education institutions to strive for excellence. Creating a competitive and highly-skilled talent pool that meets business needs requires solutions that encourage quality education programs and expand need-based aid initiatives.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

While Florida’s education reforms continue to move our state in the right direction, the Florida Chamber’s work is far from over. In order to make Florida more competitive and meet future workforce needs, we will continue to fight to develop talented students that are college and career ready and able to compete in a global workforce.

Act Now

Become a Champion for Career and College readiness by joining the Florida Chamber Foundation’s efforts to provide Florida’s students with greater access to higher education opportunities. Contact Tracey Lowe at tlowe@flfoundation.org to learn more.

Florida Chamber-Backed Education Bills Move Forward

The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes talent is quickly becoming Florida’s best economic development tool. The Florida Chamber supports creating a talent pool that can meet the needs of job creators and be ready to face the disruptive forces in our future job market. Below are the Florida Chamber-backed education bills that moved forward for the week of Feb. 6, 2017:

SB 2, Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)

Promotes on-time student graduation while responsibly increasing student financial aid and tuition assistance.

What’s next for the bill?

SB 4, Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)

Establishes a world-class faculty and scholar program, promotes the prominence of Florida’s graduate schools and links education to job opportunities by providing internship opportunities to students.

What’s next for the bill?

SB 104, Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

Furthers the ability of today’s learners to meet the changing needs of employers in the global job market by allowing students to take computer coding courses in order to satisfy the high school foreign language course requirements.

What’s next for the bill?

Learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on education by visiting our Education Issue Page.

The Florida Chamber Testifies for Better Higher Education Opportunities

During the second committee week of the 2017 legislative session, Brittney Hunt, Director of Talent, Education and Quality of Life Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, testified before the Senate Education Committee in support of quality higher education opportunities for students.

“Providing greater access to post-secondary education and identifying and closing the skills gap are some of our top priorities and the Florida chamber is proud to support SB 2 and SB 4,” said BRITTNEY HUNT. “Florida must be adequately preparing our students to enter the workforce, as well as focusing on attracting and retaining world class talent.”

In fact, Florida Jobs 2030 (being released next week) is a research report from the Florida Chamber Foundation that will analyze gaps between what the jobs of the year 2030 will look like, and what skills will be required to succeed.

“Students will need to be prepared for the future, and the Florida Chamber thanks Senate President Joe Negron and Senator Bill Galvano for making higher education and closing the skills gap a main focus of their education conversations,” said HUNT.

What’s next for these bills?

Chancellor Criser Discusses Role of State Universities in Florida’s Innovation Economy

To help meet Florida’s future workforce needs, state universities are increasing their efforts to communicate with the business community to prepare students to enter high-wage, high skills jobs after graduation. Building these partnerships becomes increasingly important considering Florida’s labor demand in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields has increased by more than 63 percent since 2010. Currently, there are more than 55,000 unfilled STEM jobs in Florida.

Former Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and current State University System of Florida Chancellor Marshall Criser, III recently shared his thoughts on the benefits of state universities working with one another to drive innovation, increase accountability measures, and ensure students are informed before making crucial higher education decisions.

“We have begun a lot of great work in Florida…to become more competitive on a national basis in terms of attracting the kinds of research grants and the funding that will come to those projects so we’re able to grow those programs,” said Chancellor Criser.

Chancellor Criser has been recognized by the Florida Chamber Foundations and other organizations for his efforts to support of Florida’s innovation economy. During the interview, Chancellor Criser also emphasized the connection between a quality education and career opportunities by discussing the new and innovative ways state university students are receiving hands-on workforce experience.

“What we’re seeing as a result of this focus on accountability is a greater use of mentorships, a greater use of internships, and more partnerships with businesses in our communities,” explained Chancellor Criser. “So that our students have a hands-on, face-to-face opportunity to work with businesses.”

“We need to build a greater awareness of what the talent resource is that is coming out of our universities,” said Chancellor Criser. “At the same time, our universities need to continue to listen to the business community in terms of what they expect for the workforce in the future.”

Join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Innovation Caucus by emailing kelekes@flfoundation.org and let us know what areas interest you the most, from economic diversification, entrepreneurship, and innovation to capital investments, international trade and more.

Get Involved:

Join the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Innovation and Economic Development Caucus by emailing kelekes@flfoundation.org and let us know what areas interest you the most, from economic diversification, entrepreneurism, innovation to capital investments, international trade and more.