By Wesley Martin
Last Thursday, Workforce Florida, Inc., Florida’s statewide, business-led workforce policy board, held its’ Board of Directors Meeting at the Gulf Power Company Headquarters located in downtown Pensacola.
Workforce, which is also responsible for overseeing the state’s workforce system, develops strategies to help Floridians enter and advance in the workforce while supporting economic development priorities and strengthening the state’s business climate.
At Thursday’s meeting, various directors and executives from across the state gave presentations on how to strengthen the corporation to meet the needs of businesses as well as clients.
Gerard Genovese, Vice President of Business Services for Workforce Alliance of Palm Beach County, gave a presentation on “Connecting Business with Talent.”
Genovese stressed the importance of speaking the languages of different businesses and industries to build better relationships and to create employment opportunities.
Susan Nelms, Executive Director of Workforce EscaRosa says she likes some of the ideas utilized in Palm Beach County. But, she says, because Workforce isn’t a staffing agency, matching isn’t always an easy process.
“No matter who you are, you can walk in and look for a job and we’ll try to help you find one,” Nelms said. “We do a lot of assessments to try to figure out what the [applicant] is best qualified to do. If they don’t have the training, we try to help them go back to school to get the training they need.”
Nelms said many jobs in the construction industry have nearly come to a halt because the demand is so low. Also, the closing of two call centers, TATA Communications and Clear Wire, left almost 500 in the EscaRosa region without employment.
Nelms said she hopes the economy changes for the better so she can assist more people with employment.
We’re not a job creation agency – that’s not our job,” Nelms said. “We’re trying to fill the jobs that are open. We’ve seen our job order increase from last year and the year before. So we’re starting to feel the economy may be picking up a little bit. And if that happens, it gives us a greater avenue to help people find jobs.”