by Roger Pynn
Although some Floridians are questioning the sincerity of an old insurance industry advertising slogan these days, I saw first-hand today the acts of nearly 100 good neighbors who came together from across seven Central Florida counties to support another county facing a mammoth workforce challenge.
We had worked for nearly two months with representatives of the Brevard Workforce Development Board to mount a program on behalf of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council that would result eventually in a safety net of sorts for the thousands of aerospace workers who face the end of the Space Shuttle era and career uncertainty.
Some had asked, “Why do you think people from Orange, Volusia, Flagler, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and Polk counties are going to care? That’s Brevard’s problem.”
How wrong. The room filled up with a cross-section of business people (from corporate CEOs to human resources professionals to engineering executives and information technology leaders) who reached out in a half-day effort to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and build a core team that will dedicate itself not only to helping Brevard County retain what amounts to perhaps the greatest workforce treasure in America, but to create a template that can be shared with any region that might one day face the kind of massive workforce disruption that may result from a hiatus in America’s space program.
As we had dubbed the Regional Aerospace Workforce Initiative in the promotional material we developed for the event this truly was “Central Florida’s 3-2-1 moment,” a chance to “help turn layoff into liftoff.”
It is nice to have such great neighbors.