The White House has announced Alachua and Bradford Counties—both located in Florida’s Greater Gainesville region—together as one of the nation’s latest TechHire communities. Greater Gainesville joins a network of 70 TechHire communities across the country receiving support to bring new jobs to local economies, facilitate business growth, and give local residents a pathway into the middle class.
“As tech companies continue to thrive in Greater Gainesville, the region’s need for a robust pool of skilled candidates will only heighten,” said Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Susan Davenport. “This new designation demonstrates that the collaborative efforts of Greater Gainesville’s innovative tech community, world-class education institutions and top-tier workforce partners to leverage tech jobs to create economic opportunities are not only working, they are leading.”
Alachua and Bradford counties’ designation as a TechHire Community was only made possible due to the efforts of Santa Fe College, CareerSource NCF, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and The North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce. All TechHire communities go through an intensive and competitive application process to demonstrate their level of commitment and readiness in expanding the technology sector. This TechHire designation shows that Alachua and Bradford counties have the partners, employers, training providers, and the civil leadership support needed to implement and scale tech job opportunities for everyone.
“The TechHire Initiative is an excellent fit for the collective goals already established within our community. We recognize growth in the IT sector as a key component to growing and diversifying the local economy. Meeting workforce needs of our local IT based companies is critical to our overall success,” said Dug Jones, Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Santa Fe College.
Greater Gainesville’s new TechHire designation heightens the economic development proposition of the region, which also is home to the University of Florida – ranked recently by U.S. employers as the best public university in the country for finding talent. Low operating costs, close access to business, and lifestyle amenities are just a few of Greater Gainesville’s business advantages.The region also prides itself on having Florida’s highest concentration of 18- to 44-year-olds, and has more than twice the state average of advanced degree holders.
Named among key partners considered in the ranking, CareerSource North Central Florida has secured nearly $32 million in federal grants to support the growth of tech jobs across industry sectors in Alachua and Bradford counties since 2011. Among them is STEM Ready, a five-year, $10 million federal grant program launched in 2014, which provides paid internships and training for long-term unemployed individuals for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based jobs with area businesses as worksites. The program has recruited nearly 100 worksite participants which are available to over 200 interns in Alachua and Bradford counties.
“Announcements like today’s validate our belief that Alachua and Bradford counties are top destinations in the country for tech employers and workers to grow and thrive together,” said Patricia Evans, Board Chair for CareerSource NCFL and Bradford/Clay Market President for Capital City Bank on the day the news was released. “On behalf of our board of directors, I want to congratulate Santa Fe College and all of our partners who collaborate selflessly each day to ensure our area provides every opportunity for success for our businesses, workers, and residents.”