City of Largo, Florida
July 20 Story of the Week
July 20 Story of the Week
Manufacturing is Growing in Florida
Gray Swoope, the Florida Secretary of Commerce President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, is reporting that 2012 is a comeback year for manufacturing in Florida. Over the last year, there has been a solid increase of nearly 5,000 more manufacturing jobs compared to last year. Enterprise Florida works closely with the Manufacturing Association of Florida, the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and other manufacturing trade organizations to promote and improve Florida's climate and workforce.
One of the ways that the State of Florida is trying to improve it's manufacturing climate is by conducting a study amongst manufacturers to determine their satisfaction with the quality and availability of workers for their industry. Workforce Florida has contracted with SRA Research Group to conduct the study to provide data needed to help Workforce Florida meet their strategic goals. Review the survey to provide your input on Florida's manufacturing workforce.
The Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) is helping small manufacturers with Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs). The FDFC was created to be a conduit issuer of IRBs for small manufacturers and 501(c)3 organizations. The advantage of IRBs is the potential significantly lower interest rates, as well as savings on state taxes. IRB proceeds may be used for capital expenditures only, such as the purchase of land, new long-term equipment, and building construction/renovations. Other major components to IRBs include such benefits as a no bond issuance limit on qualifying tax-exempt bond issues for 501(c)3 organizations, and a $10,000,000 cap on tax-exempt IRBs for manufacturers. More information and applications are available at the FDFC webpage.
The trend in manufacturing growth does not stop in the workplace. The Chairman of the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is encouraging kids to participate in programs designed to encourage students to explore science, math, engineering and technology fields. Florida MEP has partnered with the Science and Technology Education Innovation Center (formerly the Science Center of Pinellas to offer free 4-hour summer workshops introducing middle school and high school students to the science of advanced manufacturing. Workshops have already been held at the center in St. Petersburg and a remaining workshop is scheduled for Saturday, August 11. The workshops feature role-playing and lean manufacturing simulation. Students can experience being an employee firsthand across different manufacturing stages, such as ordering, product assembly and distribution. The goal is to teach students that manufacturing is now more high-tech and computerized, and that engineers are needed in the field.
The Florida MEP is also working with the Science and Technology Education Innovation Center to launch a new manufacturing lab that attempts to replicate a traditional manufacturing setting with standard machinery, and which will provide a learning environment for students to train with manufacturing experts and earn industry-recognized certifications.
In Pinellas County, St. Petersburg College offers the Industrial Management Technology Program. The program is designed to provide opportunities for students who have completed post-secondary certificate programs, registered apprenticeship programs, or state certification to receive credit in the Industrial Management Technology program. This degree provides persons currently working in the industry, an opportunity to pursue college-level education that is appropriate for management roles and upward mobility in their respective fields.
If your company's manufacturing operations are outside the state, consider the advantages of a location in Largo, Florida. Contact the Economic Development Division at 727-587-6749, ext. 7206.
Florida High Tech Corridor (FHTC)
For past stories of the week, click here.