Economic Development: A Roundup of News
St. Pete Area EDC Revamps Digital Guide for Local Employers
The Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp. released Version 2.0 of its digital workforce platform, the Workforce Resource Map, with enhancements to better meet the needs of growing businesses in St. Petersburg.
The platform, created in partnership with CareerEdge in December 2018, showcases a comprehensive listing of workforce-related resources and programs available to employers in the greater St. Petersburg area.
“We wanted to create a place where local employers could quickly and easily navigate through the many resources available to them that will ultimately grow jobs in our community,” says J.P. DuBuque, president of the association. “It remains a top priority for the EDC to not only bring new businesses to the area, but to also ensure we are supporting the growth and success of the companies already here.”
The EDC convened a review of the site with community members and human resources professionals, who provided feedback for site improvements that have since been incorporated in the Workforce Resource Map 2.0. New features include:
• Improved navigation
• Search functionality
• Case studies and testimonials from local employers
• Additional programs and resources
For more information: stpeteedc.com
Tampa Ranks in Top 10 of CoStar Retail Report
Tampa was ranked third nationwide on a recent retail rental rate report for the first quarter of 2019. In fact, Florida overall had a strong first quarter, with Miami and Orlando also making the top 10.
CoStar, a commercial real estate analytics firm, analyzed the growth rate of each major metro to establish the ranking.
TIA, Partners Win Regional Award for Improving Mass Transit
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority was recognized at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s “Future of the Region” awards for its partnership with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and the Florida Department of Transportation, in creating expanded bus access to Tampa International Airport.
The airport’s rental car center’s new transit stop for buses enabled the addition of five new routes to the airport—up from previously only one route that served the airport—including the PSTA’s first airport route and HART’s first express bus from Pasco County to the airport.
The routes serve nearly 11,000 people who work at the airport, as well as airport passengers, who have easy access to airline boarding pass kiosks and bag check services an elevator ride away from the transit stop in the rental car center, the airport says.
The second phase of the airport’s master plan includes an expansion of the curb that will allow for simultaneous operation of eight buses, all under a canopy to protect seating areas from the elements. That expansion is set for completion at the end of this year. The rental car center was also built with the ability to easily connect to fixed guideway transit in the future.
Demand for Workers is Growing in Polk County
Local business owners and managers say there’s a shortage of qualified workers to fill open jobs. “Help wanted” ads are posted in windows, newspapers and on the internet. The businesses say they must commit extra time and resources to not only recruit new workers, but to keep their current ones from leaving.
The “good news” of this situation is that it reflects success among county businesses, says the Polk County Economic Development Corp.
A recent study by the Wisconsin Counties Association confirms there is a similar shortage of workers in that state. “Wisconsin has too few young people to replace retiring baby boomers over the next 15 years, so the state must turn to migration to grow its workforce.” Counties in other states have the same challenge.
The Polk County EDC is supporting efforts to build its homegrown talent, as well as attracting workers from up north and the midwest. Areas of focus to help develop and keep homegrown talent:
• Improved technical education programs in high schools.
• Greater use of the Youth Apprenticeship program.
• Expanded broadband internet service.
• Increased awareness of job opportunities.
Each week, 9,000 workers leave Polk County to work elsewhere, says the EDC, which is developing a marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of living and working in Polk County, targeting people who grew up in the area and moved away or those in the metro area who desire a better quality of life, cost of living, and a more personal educational system.
Lakeland Airport will house one of the largest Amazon facilities in the Southeast
Amazon will invest $100 million on a 285,000-square-foot air cargo complex at Lakeland Linder Airport and create up to 1,000 jobs. The deal will add to Lakeland’s Amazon presence, which already included a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center on County Line Road.
The deal includes an option to renew the lease three times at 10 years each.
Export sales mission to the Netherlands
Interested in increasing your company’s footprint in the European market? The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., in partnership with Enterprise Florida, will lead an export sales mission to the Netherlands for Florida manufacturers and service providers to further trade relations between the United States and the Netherlands, which is said to hold vast opportunities for Florida companies interested in increasing their footprint in the European market.
Small- and medium-sized companies might qualify for an Enterprise Florida “gold key grant,” which will offset 100 percent of the gold key service fee, through the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service.
The trip is scheduled for Nov. 14-15. Contact Max Stewart or Elizabeth Cordes with the Bradenton Area EDC, at 941.803.9030 or bradentonareaedc.com, for information.