CareerSource: Where talent meets opportunity

By John Flanagan, CEO of CareerSource of Tampa Bay

Everywhere you look, there are signs that the Tampa Bay market is having a major moment with national attention focused on us.

Our sports teams are bringing home trophies, the real estate market is inundated with people from all over the country wanting to move here, and companies all over the country are eyeing relocation.

While all of this is positive, and something to be excited about, one thing that could hold us back from actual progress is having a skilled workforce ready to step into jobs with employers ready to hire.

It’s exceedingly more important now, more than ever, that entities in the Tampa Bay community collaborate and work together to fill these gaps and generate a thriving workforce in our region.

From the EDCs to the business owners, every part of the puzzle has a vested interest in solving the skill gap problem.

We were already faced with a talent shortage in the Tampa Bay area. Covid has forced that shortage into hyper-drive.

This talent shortage is where CareerSource can help.

CareerSource Tampa Bay offers a full complement of employer-based services, from hiring to posting jobs and job screenings, and we also provide labor market information and identify trends.

A lot of employers may not even realize this assistance is at their fingertips. CareerSource Tampa Bay has undergone significant changes in my two-and-a-half years here. Our goal is to keep up with the ever-changing labor market, providing the business community access to the talent that lives in the region.

From start to finish, CareerSource Tampa Bay can help your business.

  • Need information about the market? We have that data for you.
  • Need help filling a job? We can post that and use our network to target job seekers.
  • Need help onboarding or “up-skilling” your current labor force? In many cases, we can help offset some of those costs.

Tampa Bay is a talent destination, even more so post-covid. As a community, we need to face the challenge of aligning strategies to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities that industry needs to thrive, and provide equitable access to opportunity for all residents of the Tampa Bay area. It is a big task, monumental even. I am confident that CareerSource can be the driving force in getting that done; in partnership with our business, education and partner communities

Here are a few tips we can offer you:

  • Look for talent in places you don’t traditionally look. Part of the skill gap we see is demographics. Even in a market like Tampa Bay, retirements outweigh new labor force participants. We won’t see an end for another 5-7 years, so creativity and looking for those diamonds in the rough will be essential. Remember, we can assist businesses in onboarding talent by traditional and non-traditional


  • Start the recruitment process for your industry, early, and help the emerging workforce. Guide talent with possible opportunities. Put the little bug in their ear so they can prepare with training long before they fill out an application. Part of building a talent-laden workforce is to engage early. Engaging our middle schoolers regarding all the exciting careers available is key to replenishing the talent pipeline. So, be involved with anything that gets young people in your door. You are going to need them. May as well start early and get them hooked!

We are looking for a partnership that we need significant investment from our business community. We work very closely with over 2,000 employers in the region, many of whom are represented on CSTB’s Board of Directors, the education community, including cornerstone partner relationships with Hillsborough County Public Schools, Hillsborough Community College, University of South Florida, University of Tampa, St. Leo University and the many community partners who directly engage with the very communities in which we are trying to provide opportunity. We need you to be involved, too.

Let’s have a robust conversation so we can all align our efforts.

John Flanagan

In the words of Tom Cruise from the movie Jerry Maguire, “Help me, help you.”

John Flanagan is the chief executive officer of CareerSource Tampa Bay. As CEO of the local workforce board, he works closely with business, government and educational entities to find workforce solutions for the more than 1.5 million Hillsborough County residents and businesses.

He is a member of Mayor Jane Castor’s Workforce Advisory Committee; the U.S. Conference of Mayors and he was chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees.


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