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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 20, 201805:20 AM EST

Florida Chamber: State needs to adapt

Keeping millennials from leaving for better jobs, preparing for automation are challenges to overcome.
by: Jay Schlichter Staff Writer

Florida’s population will continue to explode, technology will disrupt every industry and the best and brightest residents will leave for better opportunities unless the state works cohesively to prepare for its future.

That was the message of a Florida Chamber Foundation “Florida 2030” workshop Monday. “Florida 2030” is designed as a blueprint for attracting and retaining talent, pursuing innovative ideas to diversify the economy and educating the workforce in a rapidly changing job market because of technological advances.

Tony Carvajal, executive vice president for the foundation, said Florida has seen robust growth compared to the rest of the country, accounting for 1 out of 11 jobs created nationally since the Great Recession about a decade ago.

The state is estimated to grow to 26 million citizens by 2030, an increase of about 5 million from today, and 1.7 million new jobs will be needed to sustain that growth.

Carvajal said Duval is among the state’s top 10 counties in job and population growth.

The organization’s findings, which are being presented at similar regional workshops statewide, came after three years of research and input from 10,000 residents.

It recommends several goals to transform the state into a top 10 global economy to provide a path of prosperity for every community.

Its “Six Pillars of Florida’s Future Economy” comprise talent supply and education; innovation and economic development; infrastructure and growth leadership; business climate and competitiveness; civic and governance systems; and quality of life and quality of places.

“There are changes and risks that might compromise our potential,” Carvajal said. “But winning economies are those that plan for the future.”

Carvajal said the state needs to prepare, educate and encourage the millennial generation. He said many are leaving the state for better jobs.

“We are losing a portion of the best and brightest, but what if we build communities they want?” Carvajal asked.

The event, at the Florida Blue Conference Center in South Jacksonville, was attended by a few dozen regional leaders, including state Sen. Aaron Bean and JAX Chamber President Daniel Davis.

“We know that attracting talent is the next economic battleground,” Davis said. “If we are going to compete, we’ve got to have the top talent here.”

Davis said the chamber is attempting to promote Jacksonville’s Downtown to attract millennials that prefer to live in an urban environment.

Carvajal also referred to charts that show those who are 70 years or older will be the fastest growing population.

The plan also suggests finding new companies to attract since existing technology soon will replace human employees in industries like accommodations and food service, warehousing, manufacturing and health and medical services.

“No matter where you go in Florida, you will find a decent quality of life,” Carvajal said. “Bet you won’t find a Floridian or businessman who doesn’t want to protect that.”

For more details about the foundation’s plan, visit

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