October 21, 2020
Monday, September 1, 2014
State and local partners participate in effort to assist job growth in rural regions
GREENVILLE, FL – Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI), Gray Swoope celebrated the outcome of Florida’s second annual rural economic development “boot camp” held in Greenville. The workshop, held August 28, was built on existing economic development efforts of rural communities around the state. Partners from across the state and national economic development leaders participated in the event.
“Florida’s rural regions offer unique and attractive assets that businesses look for when considering moving or expanding,” said Secretary Swoope. “These regions highlight the state’s advantages in specialized workforces, and logistics and infrastructure support, including Florida’s vast transportation network. Our rural regions can be incredibly competitive thanks to these assets.”
A 2012 study commissioned by the state examined the economic development efforts in four designated rural regions of Florida. The boot camp speaks to some of the outcomes of that study, as well as offers sessions designed to capitalize on the resources unique to rural areas. Topics included:
Florida has four rural sections made of up 32 counties. Florida’s rural counties offer close proximity to strategic business resources, a wealth of business opportunities, an outstanding quality of life and plenty of available land. These counties are hardly “rural” given that each is no farther than an hour away from an airport, large city or a college.
Senator Bill Montford attended the boot camp in Madison County, one of the 11 counties he represents in District 3. Sen. Montford has been instrumental in Florida’s rural economic development. In 2012, he lead the effort to get the funding for the rural study that lead to the creation of the annual Rural Boot Camp event. “The Rural Boot Camp is a great opportunity for business development leaders and community members to work together on strategies for economic development in North Florida. Collaborating around the state is at the heart of ensuring the Sunshine State is the best place for business.”
Representative Elizabeth Porter was the guest speaker for the legislative breakout session. A native of Lake City, Rep. Porter served as Chairwoman of the Columbia County Commission before being elected as the representative of Florida House District 10. “The Florida economy is thriving, which in turn allows our local economy to grow and add new jobs and capital investment. The Rural Boot Camp is a great way to help rural communities improve business climate in Florida.”
Representative Marti Coley, District 5, also attended the Rural Boot Camp event. Rep. Coley has championed many pressing issues facing communities, including education and economic development. “Enterprise Florida has worked hard with state and local partners to make Florida more welcoming to innovators, and today we’re seeing the fruits of their labor. The Rural Boot Camp will highlight Florida on the map as a great place for business.”
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Florida’s rural communities have many resources to offer businesses and job creators. Through our partnership with Enterprise Florida and through DEO’s Competitive Florida Partnership and technical assistance programs, we will continue to focus on these communities and help create pathways to prosperity in Florida’s rural communities.”
CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV said, “The diverse and broad-based skills of Florida’s workforce and unparalleled quality of life are just two of the many factors that make rural communities such a great fit for so many companies. We are honored to be part of the economic successes showcased here today, and through the CareerSource Florida network’s wide array of services including Quick Response and Incumbent Worker Training programs, will continue to assist employers both large and small in achieving prosperity.”
More than 150 economic development professionals from all over the state attended the event on Thursday. The Rural Boot Camp is one of the many efforts EFI organizes to demonstrate best practices to regional and local partners. Since March, EFI has led seven regional training sessions throughout the state. These sessions are put on to highlight the organization’s resources for success in economic development.
Executive Director of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership, Jeff Hendry said, “The Boot Camp was tremendous in that it provided practical and timely information from outside experts about trends and best practices in the current world of economic development and offered great insight into current activities and programs furthering the work in rural Florida. As important were the relationship building opportunities the boot camp enabled that will benefit local, regional and statewide economic development efforts—after all, our success depends on the genuine external and internal relationships we are able to develop and sustain over time.”
Vice President of Economic Development at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Alex McCoy said, “I thought Rural Boot Camp was great, especially the opening speakers. Having the opportunity for local community leaders to hear directly from some of the leading economic development consultants is important and successful economic development begins with prepared communities! If we want quality growth opportunities to come to our local areas, we have to be ready for it when it arrives. Economic development projects are far more competitive than most people realize. This event gives leaders within communities to learn more about how the process works, and what they can do to make themselves more competitive in that process so they can get more of the results they’re looking for.”
Portions of the boot camp were broadcasted on the Florida Channel.
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