Regional Workforce Initiatives
Southwest Florida offers a number of workforce training and initiatives including:
CareerSource Southwest Florida (Southwest Florida Workforce Board)
- The CareerSource provides no-cost employment and training services to employers and job seekers in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties. As a work-first initiative, Southwest Florida Works connects employers and job seekers through an online job matching system called Employ Florida Marketplace.
Workforce Now Regional Research Initiative
- Workforce Now is an ongoing regional research initiative to identify current and future workforce talent requirements for the five counties of Southwest Florida. Initially sparked by the Education Summits produced by The News-Press Media Group in the early 2010s, it is chaired by Southwest Florida Community Foundation CEO Sarah Owen.
- The research plan for next year includes a study of supply chain and logistics positions across a wide range of Southwest Florida companies and provide an overview of employment gaps and future occupational growth.
- Links to our studies, including to the annually updated Workforce Overview, can be found here.
Key Workforce Now findings:
- As the economic expansion is now the second-longest on record, employment and unemployment rates in Southwest Florida have reached levels associated with their normal long-term values;
- Southwest Florida has 573,482 employed workers in 2017, compared to 9.68 million employed in Florida and 153.34 million for the nation;
- The average annual Southwest Florida wage is $42,114 in 2017, compared to $47,779 for Florida and $55,331 for the nation;
- The largest industries by employment in 2017 are retail trade (18.5 percent, down from 18.6 percent last year), accommodation and food services (15.6 percent, up from 15.3 percent last year), health care and social assistance (13.9 percent, unchanged from last year), construction (11.7 percent, up from 11.4 percent last year), and administrative and waste services (7.4 percent, down from 7.5 percent last year);
- The largest industries by wage income in 2017 are health care and social assistance (17 percent, down from 17.2 percent last year), retail trade (13.3 percent, down from 13.5 percent last year), construction (12.7 percent, up from 12.2 percent last year), professional and technical services (8.7 percent, unchanged from last year), and accommodation and food services (8.4 percent, up from 8.3 percent last year);
- The fastest growing industries between 2013 and 2017 as measured by employment are construction (15,976, or 52.4 percent increase from 2013), accommodation and food services (10,354, or 20.1 percent increase from 2013), retail trade (8,855, or 13.8 percent increase from 2013), health care and social assistance (7,174, or 15 percent increase from 2013), and administrative and waste services (6,360, or 27.5 percent increase from 2013);
- The slowest growth industries from 2013 to 2017 have been agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (-2,277, or 18.6 percent decline from 2013), management of companies and enterprises (-889, or 22.7 percent decline from 2013), information (-308, or 6.2 percent decline from 2013), utilities (-26, or 2.2 percent decline from 2013), and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (129, or 61.4 percent increase from 2013);
- Researchers: Dr. Christopher Westley, Dr. Aysegul Timur and Mr. John M. Shannon, Florida Gulf Coast University; Dr. Debbie Psihountas, Florida SouthWestern State College.
The Horizon Council is Lee County’s private/public economic development partnership. The Workforce Task Force is focused on three primary objectives:
- Developing a newcomer integration resource guide for the region
- Compiling a digital education/workforce resource guide for the region
- Identifying components of a foundational skills training/certification that would be valued by hiring businesses