Let’s make Tallahassee Florida’s talent capital | Opinion

From the Tallahassee Democrat

At the recent Florida Chamber of Commerce Future of Florida Forum, two messages came through: Some 1.5 million more jobs will be needed by 2030, and Florida must prepare.

We have an opportunity to ensure talent development is an economic driver by meeting the demands of a global economy and a growing, diverse population. As the world’s 17th largest economy and the nation’s third most populous state, Florida is an economic leader, and our future will hinge on talent and workforce development.

The governor’s Florida Talent Development Council is developing a coordinated, data-driven approach to workforce development. Here in Tallahassee, local leaders are doing the same.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce has an ambitious goal: for Tallahassee to be the talent capital of Florida by 2030. We’re dedicated to identifying and meeting industry needs to develop a workforce that’s prepared for the future.

Experts say more technological transformation will occur in the next 10 years than in any prior decade. Developing a workforce that is ready for these challenges will be the most critical indicator of economic success.

The Tallahassee Chamber is focused on being the voice of business to strengthen our workforce. Our nearly 1,400 member businesses that tell us talent recruitment and retention is their highest priority.

Workforce development includes many facets – starting with making sure students develop a foundation for achievement. Currently 58% of Florida’s third-graders read at or above grade level, for example. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2030 Blueprint calls for ensuring that number is 100%.

In Tallahassee, we have a ripe opportunity to keep our talented graduates here, and that goes back to livability, arts and entertainment, and creating a sense of place. All these things – and more – must work together to develop and retain top talent.

We also have an opportunity for more businesses to adopt apprenticeship programs — a proven solution to recruit, train and retain highly skilled workers. These programs reduce turnover rates, increase productivity, lower the cost of recruitment and increase safety in the workplace.

The Tallahassee Chamber is dedicated to collaborating with our educational and training centers to create a unified vision for talent and workforce development, and we need your input. Over the next few months, we will host a listening tour (monitor talchamber.com and sign up for Chamber emails for date announcements), inviting businesses to share their talent opportunities and challenges. We want to hear from you.

Talent is the greatest driver of success for businesses and our region. When individuals are trained and achieve personal success, communities reap the benefits.

Let’s work together and make Tallahassee Florida’s talent capital.

Terrie Ard is president and COO of Moore and an executive board member of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.