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.

 

From Students & Parents to Teacher Development, Supporting Reforms Helps Florida’s Future

> DOWNLOAD Our Education Initiatives One Pager

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. The Florida Chamber believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can compete in a global economy. We will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future while supporting the growth of quality teachers.

  • Championing School Choice Options
    Empowering parents to take the lead on choosing the best learning environment for their children gives students more opportunities for success and promotes competition, which encourages continual improvements to Florida’s education system.
  • Advocating for Rigorous Accountability Standards
    Continuing to support assessment and accountability systems at all levels of Florida’s education system will help ensure a globally competitive talent pipeline.
  • Improving Professional Development Options for Teachers
    Fighting to improve professional development and benefit options for Florida’s teachers will create opportunities for America’s best teachers to train and remain in Florida, while helping our state remain competitive.
  • Investing in Digital and Virtual Education
    Expanding the use of cost-effective digital learning and virtual education tools throughout Florida’s education system will ensure Florida’s talent pipeline remains able to compete globally.

Florida competition is no longer Georgia or California, but Brazil, India and China. And while reforms continue to move Florida in the right direction our fight is far from over. From championing early learning initiatives to supporting a K-12 system that allows students to succeed, Florida wins when we place the needs of our students before the needs of unions.

ACT NOW:
A highly-educated workforce drives future private-sector job growth. 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.

Many of Today’s Top Jobs Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

The job market is constantly changing, which means students are preparing for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not been invented, to solve problems we don’t know are problems. Nearly 50 percent of subject knowledge is acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree. However, in many occupations, that information outdated by the time a student graduates, requiring advanced education or retraining.

How can we prepare for these changes? Will you or your children be able to find high-wage, high-skill jobs in Florida? Will your business have the talent needed for success in the future?

Florida Chamber-Backed Unique Abilities Bill Passes, Heads to Governor For Signature

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Florida Legislature for today fully passing a Florida Chamber-backed unique abilities bill, The Gardiner Scholarship, that will empower students with intellectual disabilities to succeed by providing options for high quality education programs.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and which now heads to Governor Rick Scott for signature, increases flexibility for parents so they can provide an even more customized education plan for their children through a variety of services and therapies. It also allows more families to participate in this much-needed program by expanding eligibility requirements.

“For people with unique abilities and their families, Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts and Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Programs represent freedom from a one-size-fits-all system and the opportunity to pursue education and career choices suited to their own unique skills,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) in a release.

The Florida Chamber commends Senate President Andy Gardiner, Senator Don Gaetz and Representative Erik Fresen for continuing to secure Florida’s future for students of all abilities.

What’s Next for This Bill

The bill now heads to Governor Scott’s desk to await signature.

Businesses can Help Florida’s Students Succeed

Did you know that if your company pays corporate income or insurance premium taxes in Florida, it may be eligible to make a 100 percent, tax-credited contribution that will fund scholarships for low-income children while allowing your corporation to strengthen its corporate responsibility initiatives?

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is a Florida Chamber-supported program that allows businesses to help programs like Step Up For Students provide scholarships for K-12 students from low-income families to attend high-quality private schools, helping to break generational poverty by providing students with exponentially greater educational opportunities for success.  This year, the program will serve approximately 78,000 students across the Sunshine State.

As of July 1, 2014, the Florida Legislature has made participation in the program even more convenient for corporations. Companies can take advantage of this new approach in January, when the amount of available scholarship tax credits will increase to $559 million. Click here to learn how your business can contribute.

At the Florida Chamber, we believe Florida wins when we place students before special interest agendas and we will continue to support programs that empower parents, provide students with learning opportunities and help our state succeed. To get involved in the Florida Chamber’s education efforts, contact Brittney Burch today.

Written by Sara Clements, Step Up For Students

 

Watch and Share:

The Florida Chamber believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can compete in a global economy. Help spread the word by sharing this video with your friends and co-workers.

 

 

Learn more about what the Florida Chamber is doing to improve our state’s education system to transform today’s learners into tomorrow’s earners by clicking here.

Employers urged to partner with schools to improve workforce

By Marcia Heroux Pounds Sun Sentinel

 

Kelly Smallridge tells her employees “first you’re a parent and second you’re an employee.”

Her point: Employers need to do a better job of supporting parents, which she said would lead to more dedicated employees and an improved future workforce.

Smallridge, the mother of three sons and the head Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board, was among leaders who gathered Thursday to talk about “Preventing Florida’s Brain Drain,” part of the county’s effort to improve education and build a stronger workforce.

Other panelists stressed the importance of early childhood education, customizing education to different student levels and getting parents and children accustomed to lifelong learning for the jobs of the future, which won’t look like today’s.

New Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa led off the discussion with the shortage in bus drivers that played a part, along with new technology, in the “debacle” during the county’s first week of school. Many buses were late or failed to show up to pick up students during the first week of school.

He said the situation is just one example where the county will “drive for improvement.”

Avossa, who spent some of his childhood in Vero Beach and was hired from the Altanta school district, said he will strive to create a system that is more nimble and responsive to students, teachers and parents.

“We need business partners, community members and others to say ‘let’s do what’s right for kids,'” he said.

Smallridge said the Business Development Board plans two events next year to bring together educators and business: an education summit, so educators can meet business leaders, and a career showcase focusing on the industries that are increasing jobs in Palm Beach County and how educators and students can prepare for them.

Florida Chamber Executive Vice President Tony Carvajal said half of today’s jobs won’t exist in 2030. “We have to make sure our schools and communities are ready to compete,” he said.

David Lawrence Jr., former publisher of The Miami Herald and now chair of the Children’s Movement of Florida, said the journey to better education begins with early learning. In Florida, “43 percent of third-graders can’t read at a minimally proficient level,” he said.

That has ramifications for the workforce, he said. “It’s an outrage and a scandal that we have an extraordinary number of young people who are in kindergarten or first grade who have already made up their minds they can’t do the work.”

The focus should not always be on a college degree, the panelists said. Technical certifications also prepare students more immediately for the workforce.

“The majority of jobs that this state is going to need do not require a bachelor’s degree,” said Carvajal of the Florida Chamber.

But all jobs will need some kind of advance training, and employers need to remain competitive, he said.

“Someone is waking up overseas and saying I want to get as well-trained and educated as I can. When we say students don’t need a college degree, we lose the race,” Carvajal said

We are Proud to Call Florida Home

“Choosing Florida means choosing opportunity and economic growth.”

– QUINTIN KENDALL
Vice President of State Government and Community Affairs, CSX Transportation
Florida Chamber Regional Board Chair

Quintin Kendall, Vice President of State Government and Community Affairs at CSX Transportation, Florida Chamber Board member and one of twelve Florida Chamber Regional Board Chairs, shares his opinions on why business should choose Florida, what his time as a Florida Regional Board Chair means to him and on CSX’s crucial relationship to Florida ports.

 

We are proud to call Jacksonville, Florida home. Florida is a great state to do business and at CSX we have found that it is a state that welcomes innovation. Florida’s trade and logistics efforts are leading the country and that’s part of the reason we invested nearly $250 million in our Florida network last year. Research from the Florida Chamber Foundation’s most recent Trade and Logistics study shows that Florida is growing at a rapid pace and industries like manufacturing and trade are growing with it. Choosing Florida means choosing opportunity and economic growth.

 

On Florida  Ports:

In Florida alone we operate more than 28,000 miles of tracks and we serve 12 ports across the state, including JAXPORT here regionally… When ports have a reliable mode of transportation to receive and deliver goods, especially an environmentally friendly mode such as freight rails, customers are able to get good and products in a time efficient manner. I would also add that our investment in the new CSX intermodal center at Winter Haven has a potential to really add tremendous value to an already thriving port system here in Florida.

 

On Jacksonville’s Diverse Businesses:

Investments in infrastructure is what comes to mind immediate. At CSX we help connect the state and connect the state to the rest of the country and it’s that partnership that helps out state be successful, especially with international trade and distribution and manufacturing. The Jacksonville region is very diverse, we have many companies that benefit from transportation and infrastructure, from small businesses to larger companies like ours. In order to meet the needs of these companies, a big focus will be education and developing the talent for tomorrow’s workforce. The education needs in the regional vary widely so I hope to have some good discussions on how we can help empower our students. But also in Northeast Florida, military, veteran and defense are also large industries here in this region. At CSX we are [named a] national leader in employing veterans so I hope to build on that in my role at the Florida Chamber to champion the creation of valuable jobs and help Florida’s economy grow.

 

I’ve seen firsthand the impact that businesses who work together can have on the future of our state. I look forward to helping implement the research found by the Florida Chamber Foundation going forward so that we can help to close some of the gaps and secure our state’s future.

 

On Free Enterprise:

Free enterprise means having the ability to align the needs of our stakeholders and employees, with the needs of our state. At CSX it means having the freedom to follow our core values and build a company that not only drives our economic growth, but that allows us to help make communities and people who thrive there more competitive.

Court Sides With Students Over Unions Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Tax Credit Scholarships

Approximately 70,000 students will continue to receive educational opportunities thanks to a decision by a Florida judge to dismiss a lawsuit against tax credit scholarship and school choice programs.

This Florida Chamber-supported program, created in 2001 by former Governor Jeb Bush, allows businesses to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend high-quality private schools, helping to break generational poverty by providing students with exponentially greater educational opportunities for success.

“In Florida, we’re way beyond sitting back and letting the status quo roll over students’ opportunities and lives,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future in a statement. “The unions do not speak for the tens of thousands of parents and teachers embracing choices that make success possible for more and more students every year.”

The Florida Chamber believes talent is quickly becoming Florida’s new economic development currency. The Florida Chamber will continue to support programs that empower parents, provide students with learning opportunities and help our state succeed.

Take Action Now

Join us at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Education Solutions Summit, June 9 in Tampa and hear form Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. Register today!

Court Sides With Students Over Unions

Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Tax Credit Scholarships

Approximately 70,000 students will continue to receive educational opportunities thanks to a decision by a Florida judge to dismiss a lawsuit against tax credit scholarship and school choice programs.

This Florida Chamber-supported program, created in 2001 by former Governor Jeb Bush, allows businesses to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend high-quality private schools, helping to break generational poverty by providing students with exponentially greater educational opportunities for success.

“In Florida, we’re way beyond sitting back and letting the status quo roll over students’ opportunities and lives,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Foundation for Florida’s Future in a statement. “The unions do not speak for the tens of thousands of parents and teachers embracing choices that make success possible for more and more students every year.”

The Florida Chamber believes talent is quickly becoming Florida’s new economic development currency. The Florida Chamber will continue to support programs that empower parents, provide students with learning opportunities and help our state succeed.

Take Action Now

Join us at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Education Solutions Summit, June 9 in Tampa and hear form Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. Register today!

Governor Scott Signs Florida Chamber Education Bill Into Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Education Accountability Law
Champions Fewer and Better Tests

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (April 14, 2015) – A Florida Chamber-backed education accountability bill reducing the number of education assessments was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott today.

“This legislation reduces the number of tests our students take, including the 11th grade English Language Arts test that we eliminated this year through an Executive Order in February,” said Governor Rick Scott in a press release. “I agree with many teachers and parents who say we have too many tests, and while this legislation is a great step forward, we will keep working to make sure Florida students are not over tested.

HB 7069, championed by Senator John Legg (R-Lutz) in the Senate and Representative Marlene O’Toole (R-The Villages) in the House, called for reducing the number of required state and local education assessments for Florida’s students.

Education is an economic competitiveness imperative for Florida and this country. Championing educational reforms for a globally competitive workforce is a Florida Chamber priority. While there are transition bumps to work out, the Florida Chamber believes that, as a state, we must not step back from higher standards and accountability. Fewer and better tests will help ensure Florida’s assessment and accountability system continues to succeed.

“This is good news for Florida’s students,” said Brittney Burch, Education Policy Director of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We had many champions in the legislature on this issue, including Senators John Legg and Don Gaetz and Representatives Marlene O’Toole, Manny Diaz and Erik Fresen. Florida wins when we invest in policies that help make our students more competitive and today, we saw the fruits of that effort.”

“We need fewer and better tests,” explained Senator John Legg in a recent Florida Chamber Bottom Line episode. “We’ve gone overboard… the bureaucrats have interpreted the statutes to the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.

The Florida Chamber thanks the many legislators that put Florida’s students before special interests.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

1.3 Million Florida Children Under Age 6 Will Be Part of the Workforce in 2030

Career and college readiness efforts frequently focus on ensuring high school students have the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education or job training. However, the foundation of many skills needed for 21st-century jobs is established in the earliest years.

Early childhood education is essential for a child’s development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preparing our youngest students to learn provides a foundation for future success and helps them develop important skills such as self-discipline, persistence and cooperation–skills that are essential to their future success and a quality workforce.

 

Early-Learning-Infographic

 

Share Your Story:

What is your community doing to improve the quality of early childhood education? We want to hear from you. Email jparrish@flfoundation.org and share your story.

About the Florida Scorecard:

The Florida Scorecard, located at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283.