Leon Works ensures our community’s readiness for tomorrow’s opportunities | Opinion

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Across the nation, local communities are working together to strategize on talent development initiatives to cultivate future talent.

In our community, we are anticipating more than 70,000 skilled job openings becoming available by 2026. The Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV) is currently working with several new and local companies, like Danfoss Turbocor and Amazon, on their expansion efforts, and we are expecting that job openings will only continue to grow. The technology sector alone is projected to see 7% growth in the next five years.

From construction, technology, nursing, and cosmetology, skilled careers are some of the most essential jobs and the best opportunities for steady, well-paying work.

Together with Leon County Government, OEV is hosting the annual Leon Works Expo, intended to encourage high school students to explore skilled career pathways available in the Big Bend region.

Now entering its seventh year, the Leon Works Expo provides a unique opportunity for area high school students to see themselves in exciting skilled career paths and meet with local industry leaders in the fast-growing job sectors of technology, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and creative.

The event will host more than 700 students from Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Liberty, and Madison counties and over 100 employers on April 22 at the Tucker Civic Center.  At its core, the event supports healthy talent pipelines across many industry sectors by allowing employers to interact with the workforce of the future and showcase career opportunities for students right at the critical moment when they are beginning to consider their future education and career decisions.

In addition to the tangible benefits that the Expo provides students, local businesses and academic institutions, the event represents OEV’s ongoing commitment to growing our local workforce to keep pace with our community’s economic growth.

More than a single-day event, the Leon Works Expo represents the valuable forecasting and planning that our office does year-round by working closely with our partners.

The event is just one of the many ways that OEV and workforce partners, like Lively Technical College, Tallahassee Community College, CareerSource Capital Region, the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Chamber, and the Capital City Chamber, ensure our community’s readiness for tomorrow’s opportunities.

The Danfoss expansion and Amazon development, the largest business recruitment project in Leon County, will create over 1,200 jobs combined that need skilled workers to fill.

Tallahassee is also home to more than 60 technology-based companies. Tech industry leaders, like Kikoda and VR Systems, will continue to rely on a steady stream of talent to solidify Tallahassee as a technology hub.

Anticipating and meeting these needs is what we work toward every day at OEV alongside our partners.

The upcoming Leon Works Expo is one way we can make these opportunities attractive to students and build a strong talent pipeline in the Big Bend region. As a result, OEV and Leon County will continue developing and growing a skilled career workforce that positions us for economic growth and future success.

Learn more about the Leon Works Expo at LeonCountyFL.gov/LeonWorksExpo.