The Tallahassee Economic Development Council (EC) hosted a panel of experts Marty Reid, Thomas Henry and Dean Barber who discussed a number of issues related to economic development. A major topic was ways to focus on and meet the needs of local businsses already operating in the Tallahassee community. One suggestion for retaining and growing existing local businesses was training. Beth Kirkland of the (EDC) indicated that the major takeaway from the meeting was the importance of a skilled workforce. Jim Murdaugh of Tallahassee Community College (TCC) highlighted that there are jobs available and people who need those jobs, but he admitted that there is somehow a huge gap between the two. This gap, he believes exists because of the need to provide appropriate skills to Florida's workforce.
With that said, it should also be noted that Florida's businesses have numerous opportunties to improve their employees' work skills. Through the Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) grant, a for-profit business may recoup up to 75% of its training costs within a 12 month period. For example, an IT company that provides continuing education for its employees may qualify for an IWT award up to $50,000. This is GREAT news for businesses who need to train their employees.
Other benefits of participating in skills upgrade training are:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced employee turnovers
- Increase revenues