Job demand continues to grow in Florida, with more than 250,000 job openings across the state, according to Help Wanted OnLine.
In our region, the highest demand is in the health care industry, specifically registered nurses, nursing assistants and critical care nurses, totaling nearly 1,000 job openings in November.
If you want a job in health care, our region has something for you. Our team works with health care companies daily and the high demand is reflected in their willingness to put new employees through extensive training, pay for certifications and offer benefits above and beyond the norm.
This isn’t just about health care. Even with unemployment at 3.2 percent, there are still 11,730 unemployed residents in Manatee and Sarasota counties and many more who are underemployed. In the years since the recession, Florida’s economy has gained momentum as employment continues to rise, unemployment continues to fall and businesses are expanding.
Florida is continuously recognized as a national leader for its workforce.
In 2015, the state was ranked among the top 10 in several categories in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprising States, including No. 4 for business climate and No. 9 for talent pipeline.
In 2013, the Five Year Strategic Plan for Workforce Development noted its vision that “Florida will have the nation’s top-performing economy and be recognized as the world’s best place to live, learn, play, work and do business.”
The reason the Florida model stands out among others is because it’s integrated with the state’s economic development community to meet the needs of businesses. Florida’s workforce system strives to modernize and improve the state’s business climate and its ability to map skills gaps that can guide local decision-making.
Take apprenticeships for example. CareerSource Suncoast is currently working to be a sponsor for registered apprenticeships in the area. Instead of a candidate having to go to school and get a certificate or degree first, they will be able to start a job and take classes at the same time.
When looking at skill gaps, the decision was made to start with an apprenticeship for a tool and die maker, which is an occupation in need locally but there is no formal local degree or curriculum for it. This is another way we are helping employers build their own workforce and meet the needs of businesses.
Our team at CareerSource Suncoast certainly is grateful for what we are seeing in Florida. We are optimistic that things will continue in the right direction and will keep plugging ahead to help even more folks advance their careers and connect employers with the talent they need.
The jobs are there, we just need to get people ready for them.
Ted Ehrlichman is the president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast and writes about workforce issues across the region.