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Florida Manufacturing Report Highlight: Transforming Florida's Economy through Robust Workforce Education in Manufacturing


Florida is in a transformative era in manufacturing, as the state prioritizes the intersection of education and economic development. By emphasizing workforce education, increasing exports, and reducing import dependence, Florida paves the way for a flourishing manufacturing sector that will grow the economy and create opportunities for its residents.

Florida’s initiatives aim to:

·      elevate manufacturing,

·      bolster national security, and

·      advance Florida's workforce education goals by 2030.

These efforts play a vital role in fostering a skilled workforce, innovation, and investments that will grow Florida’s economy.

Florida’s Inaugural Manufacturing Report Shines A Bright Light

FloridaCommerce’s 2023 Florida Manufacturing Report, created with support from FloridaMakes, the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, crystallizes the state’s manufacturing footprint in America’s landscape as a major player. It also underscores manufacturing’s potential to enhance the economic prospects of communities and residents throughout Florida. Manufacturing brings money back into local communities through:

·      the production and sale of goods,

·      the creation of jobs

·      investment in facilities, and

·      driving overall economic growth

Collectively, this underscores the importance of workforce training and technical assistance in developing and expanding economic opportunities for workers at various education levels.

Programs such as "Learn and Earn" initiatives enable workers to acquire new skills, increase their employability, and contribute to the growth of the manufacturing sector. By creating pathways for individuals from diverse backgrounds to enter the manufacturing industry, Florida solidifies its position as a hub for manufacturing excellence.

The report also emphasizes the necessity of career-focused education and workforce training programs for Florida's continued economic success. Demographic shifts and economic volatility impact labor markets, making education and workforce development for manufacturing a top priority for manufacturers across the state. Without enhancing education and workforce development at scale, Florida could potentially miss opportunities to retain and grow the state’s manufacturing sector that, in 2022 had a GDP of $72.9 billion.

To address these challenges, Florida has introduced initiatives like the Florida Workforce System Transformation Plan, which aims to streamline and modernize the state's workforce system. This comprehensive approach, empowered by legislation such as the Reimagining Education and Career Help (REACH) Act, focuses on alignment, system-wide improvements, and regional planning to support economic growth through workforce development.

Notably, Florida Chamber Foundation's Florida 2030 Blueprint is a strategic plan to enhance Florida's talent pipeline, ensuring a sustainable, skilled workforce for the state's prosperity. The framework supports integrated talent pathways that cater to employers, employees, and communities, positioning Florida as a competitive manufacturing state with a robust education and workforce talent pool.

“Florida's continued commitment to expanding apprenticeships as a Learn and Earn model underscores the importance of practical, industry-focused education,” said Marcelo DosSantos, FloridaMakes’ Director of Workforce Development. “These initiatives ensure that individuals gain the necessary skills to thrive in the manufacturing sector and drive economic growth and innovation in the state.”

Education and Economic Development Keep Manufacturing Growing

As Florida’s manufacturing GDP continues to climb, the report highlights key technology, workforce, and growth strengths in the state's manufacturing landscape. It emphasizes the need for ongoing infrastructure investments and policies to drive the Sunshine State’s economy.

The intersection of education and economic development in Florida showcases a collaborative effort to create a skilled workforce, foster innovation, and drive economic prosperity. By investing in education, training, and aligning with industry needs, Florida positions itself as a hub for manufacturing excellence - - attracting investments, and sustaining long-term economic growth.

“Manufacturing careers are the backbone of innovation,” said Ernie Friend, Director of the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, (FLATE), the state’s leading resource for education and training expertise. “They're not just about making things. They're about building the future, one piece at a time. Florida is the nation's 10th largest manufacturing employer, eclipsing New York and Georgia.” 

The state's initiatives and partnerships underscore a commitment to bridging the gap between education and economic development for a thriving and competitive economy. As we look to the future, FloridaMakes is optimistic about Florida's bright prospects in manufacturing and will be right there, leading the way as we work to ensure that Florida’s small-to-medium manufactures are poised for the national and global stage.

Read more about Florida’s Manufacturing Report here:

Want to feature a FloridaMakes expert at your event, on your panel, podcast, or as part of story? Contact Frances Nevill, FloridaMakes' Director of Communications + External Affairs  at:

Featured in this article: Marcelo Dossantos