Building TEAM Momentum: FloridaWorks Annual Meeting

FloridaWorks Annual Meeting

Building the TEAM Momentum

FloridaWorks held its annual meeting on January 22 to bring important work force related initiatives to the forefront and gain important feedback from our community partners. Special guest speakers included Wes L. Jurey, President & CEO, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Arlington, Texas and Chair, Texas Workforce Investment Council (Texas State Workforce Board) and Belinda Keiser, Keiser University, Vice Chancellor of Community Relations and Student Advancement and Chair, Workforce Florida, Inc. (Florida State Workforce Board).

Jurey discussed the current status of Florida and national workforce development activities, the future direction of talent development, the economy and unemployment. He gave a global perspective and its importance to our region and the nation. National information was presented, including what is happening in other states, at the Department of Labor and legislative activities in Washington DC that will shape the future of America’s workforce.

Keiser described the well-attended private university, Keiser University, and its global reach. She described the accreditation and standards private colleges are held to, which are the same as state colleges. She stressed the need for all educational organizations to work together to meet the needs of job seekers and employers. She described the role of private colleges to provide training that fulfills the short-term market-driven response needed by employers.

The FloridaWorks Annual Meeting also included a “Coffee House” panel discussion.  There was lively discussion addressing the community’s needs and future needs. The members of the panel included:


Jackson Sasser, President Santa Fe College

•    Engaging students in lifelong learning and how existing jobs will most likely not return
•    Targeted industry specific training and the ability to lead to further education
•    Post secondary education’s future direction and serving industry needs

Gary Earl, Executive Director, Workforce Central Florida – Officer, National Workforce Association

•    Workforce Investment Act reauthorization and what it means, its likelihood and ramifications if passed or not passed
•    The culture of the new administration in Labor, Education, Commerce
•    Potential local and state strategies to help shape the national agenda
•    The changing job market and what we should be doing to maximize Florida’s opportunities

Sonia Douglas, VP and COO, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, – Officer, FloridaWorks – Alachua Bradford Regional Workforce Board

•    Talent Development in economic development
•    The employers’ needs
•    The large number of unemployed skilled workers that find no jobs in their existing fields and face substantial retraining in today’s economy
•    The new graduates who find what they are taught at the beginning of their college education can be outdated by the time they graduate
•    The need to train the large number of unskilled, unemployed workers that are not going to college or post secondary education.
•    Innovation Gainesville 

Jane Muir, UF’s Office of Technology Licensing

•    The need for experienced entrepreneurs to foster the transition from innovation to job creation
•    Mentorship solutions to expand entrepreneurial experience
•    The future of the Florida Innovation Hub and what it will mean to Florida and our region

Jenna White, Enterprise Rent-a-Car

•   Success in working with Council for Economic Outreach & FloridaWorks for site selection and staffing
•   Working with FloridaWorks to help identify a highly qualified workforce, saving time and money in opening new Enterprise facility

Brian da Frota, Prioria, Inc.

•    Employers’ challenges in obtaining the talent needed today and in the future
•    The fast pace of change in a competitive innovation economy
•    Challenges to the ongoing training needs and research in the new technical workplace, for both the workforce and the customers

Randy Reid, County Manager, Alachua County

•    The growing gap between those with resources and those without, globally and locally
•    Transportation and energy issues in relation to job creation and economic recovery
•    Healthcare and technology in our area
•    Infrastructure, policy and government that can foster economic growth
•    The moral imperative of sustainability

Angela Pate, Executive Director, FloridaWorks

•    Apprenticeships, Mentorships, Internships
•    Energy Technology and Green Jobs

For more on the Annual Meeting read the Gainesville Sun article.