The Business Case for Economic Prosperity
In a recent blog post submitted to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center, the Florida Chamber Foundation discusses why businesses have the unique ability to help create economic prosperity.
The Florida Chamber Foundation’s mission is a simple, yet significant one – to secure Florida’s future. Through our efforts to develop foundational research, inform and educate businesses, and convene business leaders and stakeholders in in-depth discussions, we work to identify the challenges and opportunities that Florida has not just today, but 20 or more years from now. In fact, this mission is the basis of our Florida 2030 research, which over the course of two years has taken us to all 67 counties in our state, where we heard from more than 10,000 Floridians on the issues that matter to them.
One of those issues? Economic prosperity.
Consider the following:
- There are 28 counties in Florida with a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher.
- 44 percent of Florida’s 7.5 million households cannot afford the basic needs.
- More than 3 million Floridians live in poverty. Of those, more than 944,000 are kids under age 18.
- If we don’t do something today, 133,329 additional children in Florida will live in poverty by 2030.
So, how do we go about securing our state’s future if nearly 1 in 6 Floridians live in poverty?
Believe it or not, even after years of leading this discussion, we are still asked why the state chamber is driving these conversations. And when businesses ask us if the challenge of creating opportunities for economic prosperity for all Floridians is one of economic or moral significance, our answer is “yes” to both.
We believe all leaders in our state should be working together to ensure every Floridian – regardless of their circumstances – has the opportunity to lead successful and meaningful lives. And while there will always be situational poverty – the kind stemming from temporary setbacks – business leaders can play a strong and crucial role in helping break the cycle of generational poverty.
At the Florida Chamber Foundation, we took on the challenge of trying to identify what economic prosperity means for Florida and to educate businesses on how complex the issue of poverty is. Our Less Poverty, Through More Prosperity Report culminates years of research and analyzes poverty rates in all of Florida’s counties, and identifies the challenges that keep people from rising out of generational poverty. This report also identifies a few key opportunities to prepare our state’s workforce and create economic opportunity, which include employing two-generational strategies which recognize that focusing on interventions for children living in poverty without addressing the needs of the parents of those children leads to sub-optimal results, focusing on early learning initiatives so that students have a chance to succeed from a young age, creating workplace based solutions, and ensuring that low-income families have access to the services they need.
We are taking our research and our words and turning them into action. We are traveling the state to talk about economic prosperity, and bringing together businesses, non-profit organizations, community leaders, elected officials and more to discuss best practices and steps toward action at our annual Less Poverty, Through More Prosperity Summit.
Florida has led the way in economic growth and opportunity. We can and must do more to break the cycle of generational poverty by focusing on creating opportunities for all Floridians, especially those born into poverty. And with the business community leading the way, we can be successful.
New Digital Tool Connects Skills to Opportunities
New Online Tool from Florida Chamber Foundation Helps Connect Students and their Skills to Businesses
Florida Chamber Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Department of Economic Opportunity Announce LaunchMyCareerFL.org
The Florida Chamber Foundation today launched a free online tool to help close Florida’s talent and skills gaps. LaunchMyCareerFL.org is a one-stop-shop that helps students look at programs at public institutions as well as training programs in Florida and analyze their potential personal outcomes.
The program, launched during the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Future of Florida Forum, highlights in-demand jobs and the skills actively sought by Florida businesses. In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and with funding by Strada Education Network, LaunchMyCareerFL.org allows students to see what choosing particular majors, institutions or programs could mean for them, with the goal of helping them better plan and select careers that bring the most success and fulfillment.
“Educators, parents and school counselors in Florida work hard to guide students into fulfilling paths,” said Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Florida continues to offer diverse options for students and learners seeking college or career paths. The Launch My Career tool focuses on supplementing that work and ensures students, parents, counselors and businesses are better prepared for the future.”
While Florida remains a leader in the nation, our state will need to create two million net new jobs between now and 2030, according to the Florida Chamber’s Florida Jobs 2030 report. Florida’s unemployment rate is at 4 percent. Depending on the level of education attainment, that number may be significantly lower or higher. The demand for both employability skills and digital skills is strong and anticipated to grow throughout Florida.
But it can be hard for students to know which higher education institutes and which majors might be right for them and their goals. LaunchMyCareerFL.org is a starting place for conversations that can help current and prospective students find programs of study that can lead to well-paying jobs. It can also be used by parents, employers and counselors advising and mentoring students, helping them to facilitate discussions about the decision process.
“Our mission at Department of Economic Opportunity is for Florida to be the best place to live, work, play, learn, do business and of course find your dream job,” said Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “This website which is built for students and parents, educators and businesses, will certainly provide the link and the connections that we need and that they need — between our employers and our educators — to make sure that our students are ready for the future.”
Using data compiled by College Measures, current and prospective students can learn about the average return on investment for different degree programs compared with earnings for those without a college degree. For example, over 20 years, a certificate in engineering technology at a Florida Community College could earn a student $315,000 more, and an AA in industrial production technologies could earn a student $495,000 more. A BA in chemical engineering at a four-year Florida University could earn a student $950,000 more over that time.
“This is a piece of gold that has been given to the folks who work directly in schools,” said Rebecca Schumacher, Executive Director of the Florida School Counselor Association. “We are in a new age in providing information and closing that gap for resources that are so needed and can be so effective and useful for our children, who are our future.”
Fulfillment is not just about earnings but achieving the life students would like to lead. LaunchMyCareerFL.org highlights employee engagement data to show how satisfied students are. While other states have recently launched versions of this tool, Florida’s site is the first in the nation to add a “hot skills” feature, utilizing Burning Glass Technologies as a resource to identify skills that can enhance a student’s ROI – this encompasses both earnings and the personal and professional satisfaction and fulfillment that may result from their choices.
“We feel that students do have the right to have this incredibly important information about what are the hot jobs in the state of Florida, what are the hot skills for them to land in those jobs and what are the programs in the state that are going to help them find that career pathway that is going to bring that personal and professional satisfaction,” added Jaimie Francis, Director of Programs and Operations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
For more information, visit www.LaunchMyCareerFL.org.