In 2017, the Tampa Bay Partnership Foundation collaborated with United Way Suncoast and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to produce our inaugural Regional Competitiveness Report: a comprehensive look at the region’s strengths and weaknesses across a diverse set of indicators, measuring our performance against 19 peer and aspirational communities nationwide.
What emerged from this study was a stark acknowledgement of the challenges we face related to talent, particularly compared to our benchmark communities. Our graduation rates, both overall and for economically disadvantaged students, are low. The share of the population, age 16-to-24, that is neither in school nor employed is high. Although our degree production is competitive, the educational attainment of the population 25 years and older is not, and the regional labor force participation rate for the working-age population falls short of our comparison communities and the national average.
To further explore the issue, and work toward addressing these weaknesses, the Partnership’s Council of Governors formed a Regional Talent Working Group, chaired by Judy Genshaft (University of South Florida) and Troy Taylor (Coca-Cola Beverages Florida) in 2018, and Judy Genshaft and Scott Fink (Fink Automotive Group) in 2019. The working group is currently chaired by David Dufort (Amgen) and Nikky Flores (JP Morgan Chase) and comprised of more than 30 CEOs and senior HR executives from top employers in Tampa Bay.
The group sought and received a $300,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase to conduct research and develop an actionable regional workforce strategy. Over the course of 2018, the working group gathered labor market data, facilitated stakeholder conversations, mapped the talent supply chain and workforce ecosystem, identified gaps in the system, and developed an implementation plan for an employer-led, demand-driven regional workforce initiative.
In January 2019, the Partnership launched Tampa Bay Works, creating a new model for workforce development in Tampa Bay. As its initial project, Tampa Bay Works established two employer collaboratives – in healthcare and manufacturing – and became the first community in Florida to implement the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s rigorous Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) model, which aligns the region’s talent providers with dynamic business needs.
These employers, who represent nearly 30 companies and more than 75,000 employees in Tampa Bay, are now working together to identify their most critical and hardest to fill positions, define a common set of skills and competencies that those positions require, and create an effective connection to the region's workforce providers.