The most recent Enterprising States released by U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation ranked Florida No. 1 for talent pipeline.
One key strategy in the Workforce Florida, Inc. model is utilization of federal funds for workforce training. As the economy continues to recover, workforce training becomes more of a critical factor.
According to a report by the Brookings Institute, advertised job openings in large metropolitan areas are requiring more education than all existing jobs, and more education than the average adult has attained.
For adults 25 years and older in the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota Metropolitan Area, the share of jobs requiring a bachelor's degree or higher in 2011 was 25 percent. That rate jumped to 33 percent in 2012.
Another finding in the study concluded that higher educational attainment makes workers more employable, businesses more competitive and entrepreneurial, thus creating more job openings for less educated workers.
The regional workforce boards in Florida assess job-seeking customers to determine their employability. In cases where skills training may be necessary to close the education gap, they determine their eligibility and suitability for training in high-demand occupations. The ultimate goal for all job-seeking customers is employment.
To identify current and future training needs for local area businesses, Suncoast Workforce and the economic development organizations are strategically aligned. Suncoast Workforce has the capability to leverage training grants from state, regional and local resources.
Businesses can utilize these grants to enhance the skills of their workers which can boost morale, increase productivity, improve retention and create jobs.
Workforce training has an economic impact that can be measured. One example is Solar Direct, which utilized the Suncoast Workforce on-the-job training program to hire 13 new employees.
As a result, they were reimbursed $59,000 to offset the cost of training.
The impact: Sales increased by 80 percent, they doubled the size of their facility and they expanded their engineering and installation teams.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
Mary Helen Kress, president and CEO of Suncoast Workforce, can be reached at 941-358-4080.