July 23, 2014

Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal progress report: Workforce development programs gain steam

The Beacon Council provided an update on its One Community One Goal program, a road map for economic development.

A fashion incubator and other workforce talent development programs were put on the fast track, as the Beacon Council reported Wednesday on the latest developments in its One Community One Goal initiative.

The program, launched in 2012, has drawn business and education leaders from across Miami-Dade County to map out future economic development. Between inception and 2014, local jobs in the target industries grew by 17,000, said economist Antonio Villamil. During the same period, the total number of news jobs in the county increased by more than 48,000. The initiative’s stated five-year goal is 27,000 new jobs in the targeted industries and 75,000 overall.

The more than 400 people who attended the program, held in a Miami Dade College auditorium, heard about progress made in each of the task forces that target growth in the seven targeted industries: aviation, creative design, hospitality/tourism, information technology, international banking/finance, life science/healthcare and trade/logistics.

While the event provided a forum to tout improvements over the last year, such as airport and seaport upgrades and the area's first eMerge Americas technology conference, several projects gained steam with new funding and partners.

Macy’s announced it will bring a fashion incubator to Miami, adding to incubators it already supports in Philadephia, San Francisco and Chicago. “We see Miami as a true 21st century city,” said Ed Goldberg, senior vice president of Macy’s in New York. “This is a public program designed to take talented young people and put them into a program for a year to train them, teaching them the business and creative aspects of fashion.”

Art Torno, co-chair of the One Community One Goal effort and an American Airlines executive, said the fashion incubator idea started nearly two years ago by a small group that met at Miami International University. "Today, fruition, we are going to do it, a fashion incubator in Miami, it’s the place."

And it’s a natural, said Joseph Roisman of Perry Ellis, who heads the One Community One Goal creative industries task force. He said the incubator will also help young designers showcase and sell their collections. “Miami is the epicenter of the creative industries. … What we need to do is create enough jobs so our students will stay in Miami.”

Combating brain drain was a theme throughout the program. One Community One Goal’s proposed Talent Development Network, a project in partnership with the Miami Foundation, got a lift with a $100,000 grant from Helios Education Foundation announced Wednesday, adding to funding from the Miami Foundation, the Peacock Foundation and others.

The Talent Development Network will offer a platform for connecting potential employers with local students for paid internships in the targeted industries, said Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University. He heads the One Community One Goal’s Academic Leaders Council, which includes leaders from most of the universities and colleges in Miami-Dade County and has been meeting regularly to discuss common curriculum challenges.

A development leader for the platform has been hired, and the Talent Development Network is slated to begin next summer. In the meantime, Rosenberg urged attendees to hire an intern or two this year. “We are going to grow this together,” he said.

JPMorgan Chase announced a $250,000 investment that will go toward programs over the next two years to close the skills gap, including the Talent Development Network. This is the first local partnership under JPMorgan’s New Skills at Work program that will invest $5 million in Miami, Market Manager Guillermo Castillo said at the event Wednesday.

The JPMorgan funds will also be used to help One Community One Goal with workforce readiness gap reports. That data will help find ways to address the gaps, including through student internship opportunities, industry-specific training for teachers and students, employer training, and career and leadership development opportunities for youth.

In addition, the Academic Leaders Council is working on a master plan to create the leading academic cluster in the United States for trade and logistics, said Rosenberg.

“We must work to be the place that creates the jobs of tomorrow,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a One Community One Goal co-chair.

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