As our nation takes time to honor the achievements of American workers this Labor Day, we at the Agency for Workforce Innovation applaud the more than 9.2 million dedicated men and women who compose the workforce of our great state. The resilience, the talent and the ingenuity demonstrated by Florida’s workforce and our business community are helping pave the road to economic recovery while well-positioning our state for the new decade ahead.
Recognizing the unprecedented challenges Floridians have faced during this national recession, AWI and our partners in the workforce system have worked diligently to enhance the services we provide and to develop innovative strategies for ensuring Florida’s employers and workers have the support and assistance they need.
As we look ahead, we are continuing to see signs of recovery. In June, four of Florida’s 20 metro areas saw job growth for the first time since the recession began, and last month, eight metro areas had gains in jobs. Over the next eight years, Florida is projected to continue on the road to recovery and gain more than 1.1 million new jobs.
As our economy recovers, we will continue our diligent work to provide Florida’s job seekers with training and reemployment services that will connect them with jobs available now and the high-wage positions of the future. As Governor Crist stated in his proclamation
(http://www.floridajobs.org/publications/news_rel/2010Gov-WorkforceDevelopmentMonth.pdf) declaring September Workforce Development Month in Florida, “the people of Florida are this state’s greatest asset and vital to our ability to expand economic opportunities and firmly establish the Sunshine State as a global leader in the 21st Century.”
We could not look to the many opportunities ahead without taking a moment to reflect on some of the accomplishments of this past decade. Over the ten years since the Workforce Innovation Act of 2000 created Florida’s current workforce development system, more than 11.7 million customers received a variety of workforce services, including job placement and training assistance to enhance their skills and improve their job prospects.
There is still much work to do to strengthen and grow our economy. But Florida’s employers and workers, including the men and women of our state’s workforce system, have continued to demonstrate the creativity and determination needed to address and overcome the challenges we’ve faced during this time of rebuilding, and that is worthy of acknowledging and celebrating as we reflect on the real meaning of Labor Day.
Cynthia R. Lorenzo
Director, Agency for Workforce Innovation