Here's the latest from your friends at the Florida Economic Development Council.
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In this edition:

  • FEDC Regional Forums
  • FEDC Dinner
  • Annual Conference Planning
  • Cybersecurity Month
  • Upcoming Events
  • An Advocacy Update
  • and more

FEDC Regional Forums Kickoff in Northwest Florida on November 6

Annually, the FEDC’s professional development series includes eight regional forums planned by FEDC Regional Directors. Join us on November 6th at The Henderson Beach Resort in Destin from 8 AM to 1:30 PM Central Time.

Special thanks to Enterprise Florida and CareerSource Florida for their annual support of these important regional focuses on best practices, policy, and competitiveness. Check out the agenda.

Please register by emailing Jill Blackman at or by accepting the calendar invite.

Save these dates:

  •     Northeast Regional Forum – November 14
  •     Southwest Regional Forum – November 20
  •     Tampa Bay Regional Forum – December 3

Register for the FEDC Dinner on November 12 in West Palm Beach 

As an Enterprise Florida strategic partner, FEDC will host members and EFI stakeholders on November 12 at 6:45 PM to 8:15 PM in West Palm Beach. We especially thank the event sponsors - Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and CareerSource Palm Beach County!
Photo of Robert Weissert

Our speaker this quarter is Robert E. Weissert, the Executive Vice President & Special Counsel to the CEO for Florida TaxWatch.  Robert leads the organization’s research and advocacy efforts to increase government efficiency, enhance effectiveness, and improve accountability.

Please RSVP your attendance by emailing Jill Blackman at

2020 Annual Conference Planning Underway


Earlier this month the FEDC Conference Planning Committee met to welcome new sponsors and set the stage for three innovative and engaging days in downtown St. Petersburg at the Hilton Bayfront May 11-13, 2020. Help us welcome the following sponsors:

  • Enterprise Florida – Platinum Presenting
  • CareerSource Florida – Diamond
  • Florida SBDC Network – Diamond
  • Duke Energy – Silver
  • Central FL Development Council – Bronze
  • Pinellas County Economic Development – EDO
  • Florida SBDC Network - Keycard
  • Tampa Hillsborough EDC – Lanyard

Many more Sponsor Levels are available. And stay tuned for Early Bird registration!

October is Cybersecurity Month!

October marks National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In celebration, Florida SBDC launched a new Cybersecurity Basics for Small Businesses program. As part of the program, small businesses have access to the following at no cost to them:
  • Cybersecurity risk assessment to help determine their level of risk 
  • Basic cybersecurity online training to help businesses learn common risks, threats, and strategies to safeguard their business and respond to an attack
  • Consulting with our cybersecurity specialists to discuss individual needs and to receive help developing a cybersecurity plan
Here's the link to the press release with more information

For more information about our new service offering, please visit

Find It Florida resource updated

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the relaunch and expansion of Find It Florida!, Enterprise Florida’s commercial property search tool. Find It Florida! is a robust, public database for viewing and uploading available commercial building and site properties across the state. The relaunch includes updates to the functionality of the site and a new layer featuring Opportunity Zones.

Find It Florida! allows users to seamlessly search using dozens of criteria combinations and site overlays for infrastructure, education, broadband technology and more. The site also includes up-to-date demographics and statistics for all 67 Florida counties and nearly 1,000 Florida cities, towns, and communities.
The Opportunity Zone Program is a tool that provides several tax incentives when investors reinvest gains in qualified Opportunity Funds. The funds must, in turn, invest in low-income communities from designated census tracts, called Opportunity Zones. Visit this link for a list of certified Opportunity Zones or visit to view mapped sites.

Advocacy Update

To start please check out the full FEDC Legislative Agenda.

Developing a Florida Talent Pipeline CALL TO ACTION

The Florida Talent Development Council, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is tasked with creating a strategic plan to ensure 60 percent of working-age Floridians hold a high-value postsecondary credential by 2030. The strategic plan will be delivered by December 31, 2019. The business-led council first met on October 7. Several working groups were defined. FEDC is supporting CareerSource Florida as the lead for the Equity and Access workgroup and the Florida Chamber’s efforts on the Data & Accountability workgroup.

Right now in Florida, there are more than 277,000 jobs looking for people, and more than 344,000 people looking for jobs. Through this survey, you can help clarify evolving workforce needs, pathways, and expected training needs.



Bills we are watching

SB 216 - Assistance for Micro Businesses 

General Bill by Rodriguez 

Assistance for Micro Businesses: Authorizing certain local governments to set aside up to a specified percentage of funds for procuring personal property and services for the purpose of entering into contracts with micro businesses; providing eligibility for micro-businesses under the Microfinance Loan Program; providing eligibility for micro-businesses under the Department of Transportation’s highway project business development program, etc. 


SB 426 - Regional Rural Development Grants Program 

General Bill by Montford (CO-SPONSORS) Albritton 

Regional Rural Development Grants Program: Defining the term “regional economic development organization”; specifying that the concept of building the professional capacity of a regional economic development organization includes the hiring of professional staff to perform specified services; increasing the maximum amount of annual grant funding that specified economic development organizations may receive; increasing the amount of funds the Department of Economic Opportunity may expend each fiscal year for certain purposes, etc. 


SB 576 - Research and Development Tax Credit 

General Bill by Gruters 

Research and Development Tax Credit: Deleting a limitation on industries that qualify for the research and development credit against the corporate income tax; increasing the combined total amount of credits which may be granted to business enterprises during any calendar year; requiring that a specified amount of credits be allocated to certain qualified cleantech businesses, etc.  


HB 71 - Florida Job Growth Grant Fund 

General Bill by Santiago 

Florida Job Growth Grant Fund: Authorizes Governor to approve workforce training grants to certain charter schools under Florida Job Growth Grant Fund; authorizes certain charter schools to apply for specified grant funds. 


SB 130 - Florida Job Growth Grant Fund 

General Bill by Hutson 

Florida Job Growth Grant Fund: Authorizing the Governor to approve workforce training grants to certain charter schools under the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund; authorizing certain charter schools to apply for specified grant funds, etc. 


SB 418 - Workforce Education 

General Bill by Diaz 

Workforce Education: Revising the workforce education programs that school district career centers are authorized to conduct, etc. 


SB 530 - Entertainment Industry 

General Bill by Gruters (CO-SPONSORS) Flores; Farmer; Stewart; Rouson; Cruz 

Entertainment Industry: Creating the Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the Commissioner of Film and Entertainment; authorizing applicants to receive rebates up to a specified amount, including bonuses; requiring an applicant that receives funding to make a good faith effort to use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this state and to employ residents of this state; requiring the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council to determine a score for each qualified project using specified criteria, etc. 

SB 126 - Sales and Use Tax 

General Bill by Gruters (CO-SPONSORS) Hooper; Gainer; Baxley; Perry; Harrell; Albritton; Stewart 

Sales and Use Tax: Revising the definition of the term “retail sale”; renaming the term “mail-order sale” to “remote sale” and revising the definition; revising conditions under which certain dealers are subject to sales tax levies and collection; providing that certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, and remittance requirements for sales taxes, etc. 

HB 159 - Sales and Use Tax 

General Bill by Clemons 

Sales and Use Tax: Revises conditions under which certain dealers are subject to sales tax; deletes exemption for certain dealers from collecting local option surtaxes; provides that certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, & remittance requirements for sales taxes; requires marketplace providers to provide certification to marketplace sellers; specifies requirements for marketplace sellers; requires marketplace providers to allow DOR to audit books & records; provides that marketplace seller is liable for sales tax collection & remittance; authorizes marketplace providers & marketplace sellers to enter into agreements to recover certain taxes, interest, & penalties; grants DOR settlement & compromise authority for marketplace sales; deletes authority of DOR to negotiate collection allowance with certain dealers. 

Members Corner

Member Spotlight - CareerSource Northeast Florida

CareerSource NE Florida logo

CareerSource Northeast Florida, the regional workforce development organization serving Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties, has worked with two Jacksonville hospitals to help solve critical staffing issues through training.

The organization received a sector strategies grant in 2018 to create a career path for Patient Care Technicians and CNAs to obtain credentials as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs.) Memorial Hospital identified a class of 10 current employees who had the potential to bridge to higher-skilled positions.

Florida State College at Jacksonville designed a customized program for Memorial, consisting of 1,350 contact hours. The training prepares students for entry-level positions providing direct patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care settings under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or physician.

The program began in July of 2018. Students attended classes three days a week while continuing to work at the hospital, and graduated in October 2019. They will complete an IV therapy course (a
requirement for hospitals, but not other healthcare settings) and sit for their licensing board exams near the end of the year.

The students earned between $10 and $12 per hour (depending on their experience) in their CNA roles; they’ll earn between $18 - $27 per hour as LPNs.

Photos of surgery instruments

This program follows the success of another training program CareerSource funded for Memorial Hospital and Baptist Health systems. Both hospitals were facing a shortage of a critical occupation: surgical technicians, who assist surgeons during operations by preparing operating rooms and sterilizing and arranging equipment and other supplies.

According to BLS projections, the demand for surgical technicians is expected to grow by 15 percent over the next ten years, and many hospitals are finding it difficult to recruit these highly skilled workers.

The median wage for surgical technicians is $21.31 hourly, or $44,330 per year. But because of the shortage of workers, Memorial and Baptist were frequently calling on PRN (temporary, on demand) workers to assist in surgeries. These workers, commonly referred to as “travelers,” are placed through agencies for weeks at a time on a hospital site. The hourly cost for a “traveling” surgical technician could be more than $30 per hour, plus agency markups for placement, which can drive the cost per hour as high as $40.

When CareerSource NEFL staff heard about this pain point for the hospitals, they offered the idea of customized training to convert non-clinical staff members to surgical techs. The hospitals offered clinical and non-clinical staff the opportunity to apply for training. They selected employees who had been on staff for a while, demonstrating knowledge of the company culture, safety, and customer service standards.

One hundred hospital employees applied and went through an interview with a panel of Surgical Service leaders. The first cohort that started on October 1, 2016, consisted of 12 students: 2 from Memorial Hospital and 10 from Baptist. The final selectees included CNAs and workers from non-clinical jobs including nutrition, business administration, and environmental services, all who receive training and certification without incurring any out-of-pocket costs. They graduate in 2017. The hospitals report that the program solved a critical talent issue, increased employee loyalty, and has reduced ongoing labor costs per hour by almost 50 percent.

For more information on CareerSource Northeast Florida, visit

New Member Profile - ECS Florida, LLC

ECS Florida, LLC is a premier provider of geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, environmental consulting and facilities engineering services. ECS Florida, LLC is one of the operating entities of the ECS Group of Companies with office locations in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Daytona, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach and Brunswick, Georgia. ECS is equipped to help projects from conception through conservation for both the private and public sectors.

Founded in 1988, the ECS Group of Companies is a leader in developing the people, systems, and expertise that allow us to focus on our clients’ needs. Their expertise spans the nation and multiple industry sectors and their commitment is to provide high quality and innovative engineering services. Their mission is to be the engineering firm-of-choice in the markets they serve. Today, with over 1,700 employees, ECS has grown to more than 65 offices and testing facilities spread across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest.

ECS is currently ranked 72 in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms (April 2019) and 29 in Zweig Group's 2019 Hot Firms (June 2019).

Welcome ECS Florida, LLC!


Be sure to congratulate:
  • Danita Andrews on her promotion to Chief Business Development Officer for FloridaWest EDA
  • Christopher Roog, Director of Economic Development for the City of West Palm Beach for becoming Florida’s newest CEcD


Many thanks to the following member organizations that have renewed during the second quarter:
  • Osceola County Economic Development Department
  • North Florida Economic Development Partnership
  • ECS Florida
  • St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners
  • City of Florida City
  • Hardee County Economic Development Council
  • Seminole County Government
  • Duke Energy
  • Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County
  • EDC of Florida's Space Coast
  • Broward County EDO
  • Tampa Hillsborough EDC
  • The Chason Group
  • UWF Florida SBDC Network HQ
  • Sumter County Economic Development
  • Madison County Development Council
  • Lake County Agency for Economic Prosperity
  • City of Deltona

Event Calendar

Check out these important upcoming events on our events calendar:
  • Future of Florida Forum – October 28-29
  • IEDC Basic Course hosted by USF SBDC – November 5-8
  • GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch – November 14


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