Today, job demand is at an all-time high in Florida, with nearly 300,000 job openings across the state, according to Help Wanted OnLine. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, "Another month, another record for Florida's resurgent economy, with job openings at an all-time high. Businesses in Florida are growing, families are back to work, and it's a great time to be living and working in the Sunshine State."
Florida is continuously recognized as a national leader for its workforce. This year, the state was ranked among the top 10 states 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 predicted "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." 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.
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. Through Florida's Expanding Business Engagement Initiatives, we strive to provide businesses with a seamless, consistent and highly valuable experience within Florida's workforce system. Employers are now able to connect with a larger portion of our state's talent needs, and job seekers can uncover more opportunities for career advancement and employment prospects. The efforts to expand busi
ness engagement have been successful, and in the past two fiscal years more than 200,000 businesses were served statewide.
There are many examples that demonstrate what Florida has accomplished in the area of workforce. From July 2014 to June 2015, $340,000 in training grants were issued to employers in the Suncoast region. Of those, $119,000 in grants were for credentials, certificates and licenses for companies to train employees.
These grants were spread out over 29 companies with topics ranging from Solidworks to AutoCAD to sales to Custom Civil 3D training to senior professional in human resources certifications.
What does this tell us? Companies are passionate about taking their employees and training them to better themselves and advance their careers. During this same time period, 38 local businesses took advantage of $220,000 in on-the-job training grants, which equates to 82 new hires in positions ranging from CNC programmer to assistant superintendent (construction) to graphic artist. Last year, more than 6,800 residents of Manatee and Sarasota counties who used services at CareerSource Suncoast found jobs.
Our team at CareerSource Suncoast is certainly grateful for what we are seeing here in Florida. We are optimistic 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.
Ted Ehrlichman, president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast, writes about workforce issues across the region.