Community and business leaders used the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal event to celebrate recent economic progress — but also to remind the audience this is not the time to rest.
It has been five years since the Beacon Council revamped and relaunched the economic development initiative, just after several years of double-digit unemployment. On Wednesday, leaders were quick to tout the economy has recovered and then some — even that Miami-Dade has been a bit of overachiever.
“We made our five-year job growth goals in four years,” Maria Alonso told the crowd of about 800 gathered at Jungle Island. Alonso, the recently named CEO of United Way, co-chairs One Community One Goal with Penny Shaffer, market president of South Florida Florida Blue, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
One Community One Goal targets seven industries — aviation, banking/finance, creative design, hospitality/tourism, life sciences/healthcare, technology and trade/logistics — because of the high-growth potential that in most cases generates higher paychecks too.
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Among the statistics announced by the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development partnership: Job growth of the seven targeted industries averaged 16 percent between 2012 and 2017, exceeding the 13 percent growth of all Miami-Dade industries combined. Growth in the smallest of the seven industries — technology — was also the most robust, growing 32 percent, higher than the nation as a whole. The tech sector added 2,642 jobs, with a $95,000 average salary.
Tech was followed by 22 percent growth in trade/logistics, which contributed 7,376 new jobs. Tourism, the second-largest of the targeted industries, clocked a 21 percent five-year growth rate, churning out almost half of the 60,835 jobs added over the last five years in the seven industries and nearly 20 percent of all 148,700 jobs created. After all, “Miami is the experiences capital of the world,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer of Carnival Corp.
Padgett’s talk about recent innovations at Carnival underscored the theme of the day. “Innovation is a driving force that is essential in every business practice,” said Michael Finney, the Beacon Council’s new CEO. “One Community One Goal is not just a five-year goal — it is here to stay.”
He and other leaders said the OCOG initiative needed to continue its focus on amplifying innovation, education and entrepreneurship because the economy needs to prepare for an accelerated pace of changes ahead — in every industry.
“The jobs of the future haven’t even been created yet,” FIU President Mark Rosenberg said. “Automation is the elephant in the room.”
The leadership touted its progress setting up the Talent Development Network, a county-wide initiative connecting college and high school students with paid internships. So far TDN has placed students in about 400 internships across 200 companies, Rosenberg said.
“This issue of keeping talent here is a shared responsibility,” he added, urging the business community to post internship opportunities on tdnmiami.com.
The Talent Development Network spun out from the efforts of the Academic Leaders Council, a group of local educational leaders created five years ago that meets regularly to collaborate on solutions for addressing critical skill sets needed in the digital economy.
“We are training the workforce of tomorrow,” said Mauricio Ferrazza, who heads MAGIC, Miami Dade College’s two-year-old animation and gaming hub. He announced at the event that MAGIC (the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex) will launch a 15-credit certificate program in virtual and augmented reality beginning in the fall.
MAGIC, one of only four programs in the country and the most affordable, serves as a training center in the burgeoning area of 3-D animation and video game development already being used in many industries and fields.
“We all have the keys to drive change like no time before,” said Matt Haggman, outgoing Miami program director at Knight Foundation and past co-chair of OCOG.