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Future of Work Florida Invites All to Embrace Career and Technical Education

Tallahassee, FL (June 28, 2022) – Today, the Florida Chamber Foundation and Florida Department of Education launched the Future of Work Florida — a new initiative to galvanize support for Career and Technical Education (CTE) among businesses, parents, grandparents and students. Florida is fortunate to have a thriving economy; however, this comes at the cost of more jobs looking for people than people looking for jobs. Our workforce needs are significant but there is a solution: encourage more Floridians to embrace Career and Technical Education as a fast, affordable path to a growing variety of high-wage, high-demand careers.

That was the key message at Tuesday’s kickoff of Future of Work Florida at the 2022 Florida Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit in Tampa. Learners to Earners is an annual event, hosted by the Florida Chamber Foundation, of state business leaders, elected officials, and education and workforce advocates to discuss the importance of investing in early and lifelong learning, and closing skills gaps in Florida’s current and future workforce.

“Talent has clearly replaced the tax incentive as the economic development tool of choice,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Foundation. “For Florida to become a top 10 global economy by 2030, building a trained, diverse and competitive workforce is essential. Florida’s job creators must unite with workforce education organizations to create complete career awareness for our future workforce.”

Future of Work Florida is an aligned, multi-year effort by the Florida Chamber Foundation and the Florida Department of Education. The initiative is showing job creators, parents, grandparents and students that Florida has a dynamic, long-term plan to fuel the future through the best workforce education effort in America, which fills market needs with talent supply.

Florida has more jobs available than people looking for work and too few candidates are properly qualified, even though many of these openings are high-wage and high-demand.  A recent snapshot showed 499,371 open jobs in the state, with Florida on pace to add 3.5 million net new residents by 2030. From 2015–2020, Florida created one in every 11 net new U.S. jobs, but the top concern among Florida’s job creators was the inability to find qualified talent to fill open positions. 

High school graduates who are not university-bound now have opportunities to train in a rigorous, fast and affordable CTE program for either a skilled trade or professional career pathway.

“These are top-notch programs in high-skill sectors that don’t require a four-year degree — fields like artificial intelligence, engineering technology, healthcare, IT, robotics and more,” said Florida Commissioner for Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “A low-cost credential with high-wage potential offers a phenomenal return on investment.”

“In our growing state economy, there are so many opportunities for businesses to thrive and Floridians to connect to education and training that leads to valued credentials and strong career pathways,” said Michelle Dennard, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida, the state’s workforce policy and investment board. “This new initiative represents another meaningful way Florida’s business community and our state’s talent development pipeline will collaborate to close skills gaps and support a bright future for today’s learners pursuing a path to economic success through workforce education programs.”

Learn more about the Future of Work Florida Initiative at FutureOfWorkFL.com.

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Through the Future of Work Florida Initiative, the Florida Chamber Foundation and Florida Department of Education have developed a multi-year plan to unite and harness the power of thousands of Florida businesses, local chambers and economic development groups, education and workforce partners, HR leaders, hiring managers and more, to turn Florida’s workforce crisis into a competitive strength.