FloridaWorks recognized with the Chair’s award from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce for fostering job growth
FloridaWorks, the regional workforce board for Alachua and Bradford counties, was recognized by outgoing Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Eric Godet for its community partnerships that led to innovative job creation and brought more than $4 million in federal funding for wages to the area.

“FloridaWorks stood out to me because there was no more important issue this year as Chamber chairman than jobs,” Godet said.

To close his tenure as Chamber chairman, Godet recognized FloridaWorks with the Chairman’s Award, an honor bestowed on a person or organization for an outstanding contribution to the community.

“We must acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff who consistently work long hours and with tremendous commitment to those they serve. They are innovative and creative in their efforts to help the unemployed and underemployed at all levels of education and skill level. Additionally we have a tremendous commitment of our Board of Directors and our community partners. We thank the Chair of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and his other board members for this recognition,” said Angela Pate, executive director of FloridaWorks.

FloridaWorks faced an unprecedented opportunity and challenge when stimulus funds became available to the state’s 24 workforce regions to put people to work through a program dubbed Florida Back to Work. FloridaWorks worked with hundreds of area employers who needed employees, but could not hire due to the economic recession.

“I was impressed with how well the staff handled it and executed the process in ways that other regions in Florida didn’t attempt,” Godet said. “They took an extremely difficult process and brought it to fruition.”

307 people found jobs from local employers through this program that ended on September 30, 2010 and one third of those workers, 100 people, remained employed in newly created positions.

Without the robust public-private partnerships facilitated by FloridaWorks, these 100 new jobs would have not existed. Those jobs allowed companies to kick-start their businesses in a time when most were trimming back and laying off. 56 of the jobs created are considered high-skill, high-wage positions with some earning more than six-figure salaries. Innovative collaboration amongst local businesses, FloridaWorks, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Council for Economic Outreach, Innovation Gainesville, Temp Force of Gainesville, Alachua County, Santa Fe College, the University of Florida and other community organizations allowed this program to be successful. More than $4 million in wages were brought to Alachua and Bradford counties.

“It is hard to separate FloridaWorks’ mission from the Chamber’s mission,” Godet said. “If the community is truly going to take responsibility for making it easier to do business every day, then we have to address the job situation. It enhances the ability to succeed.”

FloridaWorks also received $2.9 million in grants to train jobseekers in careers that expect to be in demand. Hundreds trained attended classes at Santa Fe College, University of Florida, City College and other training providers. The training that these workers received increased their skill and knowledge to benefit our region.

FloridaWorks is a community partnership in Alachua & Bradford Counties. FloridaWorks helps employers connect with job seekers. These services are delivered through two one-stop centers, with locations in Gainesville and Starke and through partner entities throughout the community. FloridaWorks is part of the Employ Florida Marketplace (EFM). EFM is a statewide website where employers post their job openings and job seekers can find employment opportunities.

FloridaWorks is a no-cost connection to improved employment opportunities through education, training and career services. FloridaWorks can assist in helping people achieve training or employment goals, whether they are at entry or executive level. The FloridaWorks Business Services team offers a variety of services to help businesses recruit, train and retain employees.

For more information, contact Joe Johnson at 352.334.7120 or joe@gainesvillechamber.com