The Florida Council of 100 is comprised of business leaders representing more than 100 companies and more than 500,000 employees. One of its primary tasks is to help South Florida avoid the vulnerabilities that negatively impacted the area during the last recession. The Council’s latest report, called “Project Sunrise,” came out with a number of suggestions to help South Florida stay competitive in the world market and to maintain stability during fluctuating economic periods.
South Florida’s economy is expected to grow twice as fast as the national GDP during the next five years. In order to meet the demand for qualified workers, Florida needs to provide graduates from Florida schools with opportunities that encourage them to stay and work in the State. Florida also needs to recruit out-of-state talent and invest in job training to help those under-employed or unemployed to find new opportunities in high demand industries. In March 2019, the Fort Lauderdale area had 7,488 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) job openings.
South Florida also needs to re-brand itself as a prime location for capital investment and encourage funding for research and development, provide support for local start-ups, and invest in its hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, and research centers. With the increasing number of people moving to South Florida each year, the health care industry is forecast to be Florida’s largest job creator over the next decade. South Florida also needs to grow its agriculture and export sectors given that Port Everglades is a leading seaport for containerized cargo going to and from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East.
According to Chris Corr, Chairperson of the Florida Council of 100, “Given Florida’s maturity as a worldwide economic powerhouse in recent years, we have an opportunity to lead and chart a path to help Florida become that ‘It’ State, the place where dynamic and exciting innovations lead the way.”