Building a world-class workforce

is key to Florida’s future growth

Diversifying Florida’s economy is key to creating jobs and opportunities for all Floridians.

By building on our core industries— tourism, agriculture and construction — Florida can continue to attract a world-class workforce that will allow the state to lead the way in job creation.

Since December 2010, Florida has created more than 1.4 million private sector jobs, and 1 in every 10 jobs in the U.S. But while Florida has an economic outlook with much to look forward to, the fact is several states and nations are targeting the same high-wage industries as our state.

As the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Index shows, workforce quality continues to be a growing concern among businesses. A highly skilled workforce is key to ensuring Florida doesn’t fall behind in global competitiveness.

Additionally, we must continue to signal that Florida is open for business.

Thankfully, the Florida Legislature is investing in important economic development programs like the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund – a vital element in transforming Florida’s economy into next generation targeted industries.

And Florida continues to further cement our state’s world-class universities while also increasing educational opportunities for K-12 education.

Together, we are securing Florida’s future.

Husein Cumber,

executive vice president,

Florida East Coast Industries,



We don’t need more laws

to prevent tragedies like Parkland

It is so frustrating to read the back-and-forth about gun control at both the state and national levels.

Parkland should never have happened. If protocol had been followed, it would not have happened.

There were so many red flags and warnings — yet no one in authority acted.

Those in authority must enforce the current laws.

They must follow current protocol.

In short, they must do their jobs.

It doesn't take more laws. It takes a willingness to enforce the current laws and procedures.

Parkland was a horrific tragedy, and my heart goes out to those students and parents.

If only the agencies involved in this tragedy had just done what they were sworn to do.

If only they had just done their jobs.

Kathryn Branch,



We must keep supporting

our Northeast Florida nonprofits

Times-Union reporter Beth Cravey’s recent story on the impact of food insecurity on the elderly serves as a powerful reminder of the need to support local nonprofits.

In my capacity as the Northeast Florida market president for Bank of America, I have the privilege of working collaboratively with nonprofits that share a common goal of helping people in need, whether by providing them with food or shelter, job training or financial literacy education.

It takes a diverse, multi-pronged approach to lift people out of poverty and help them gain financial mobility. This is why the bank shares its philanthropic support across many local nonprofits that carry out different missions.

Volunteerism and charitable donations form the safety nets that nonprofits provide people to lift them out of need — and set them on a path toward economic mobility.

Cravey’s story reminds us that the organizations helping the less fortunate in turn need the community’s help to survive.

Whether they feed the hungry or shelter the homeless, nonprofits are only as effective as the community support they receive.

Gregory B. Smith,


Northeast Florida market,

Bank of America,