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Addressing Local Workforce Needs.

The economies of Sarasota and Manatee counties are strong. Per capita income is high, the unemployment rate is low, and more people are working than ever before.

A closer look, however, reveals some weaknesses that challenge our economic well being. Employers in all industries suffer from an acute labor shortage. At risk is the ability of our companies to compete in the new economy. Communities that are helping local businesses deal with new workforce realities will build a stronger, more vibrant economy.

The Sarasota County Committee for Economic Development (CED), a division of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, working in cooperation with the Manatee Economic Development Council and the Suncoast Workforce Board, is developing a Workforce 2020 program to address the long-term needs of local employers. This program will be comprised of four major initiatives:

* Academies of Learning: Workforce academies educate businesses about the latest recruitment and retention techniques, turnover costs, use of interns, Work Keys programs, customized training and other critical workforce issues. The academies use testimonials and real-life examples to show businesses what it takes to be a desirable employer in today's tight labor marker.

* Communication: Make extensive one-on-one visits to companies throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties, communicating to them the various available training and workforce programs/services. A public relations and media marketing campaign will be designed to communicate available workforce services and resources. Increased job placements and internship opportunities are part of this effort, too.

* Employment Connection: This provides expansion of the current Internet-based job database and labor exchange function to act as an interactive communication tool for employers and businesses.

* Web-based Services: In cooperation with the Tampa Bay Partnership, this will offer support and development of Web applications that provide tip-to-date workforce information, employer outreach services and placement tools.

In this newsletter you will read about important initiatives and programs to assist local employers with short and long-term employment needs. Innovative partnerships are being formed between business and education to ensure adequate training of our future workforce. New proactive programs are informing and teaching employers about the resources already available to them. Look for the Workforce 2020 program to begin in the summer or early fall of 2001.

Workforce issues and labor shortages continue to be an issue for many employers. Our goal at the Sarasota County Committee for Economic Development is to provide them with the resources and information they need to create new jobs and enhance our local economy.
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Author:Baylis, Kathleen D.
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 2001
Words:407
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