map out programs that meet business workforce needs
Greater Miami's business community battling a shortage of workers
trained in new high-tech occupations, economic development leaders
last week turned their focus squarely to a newly forged partnership
concern that the new wave of business will bypass the community
unless it has the proper workforce mix, Miami-Dade County's economic
development organization, the Beacon Council, Friday brought together
seven high-level educators to talk about schools working with industry
for workforce development.
for businesses considering relocating here said "We have to
move to where our workforce is and find the workforce with the skills
that we need," Council President Frank Nero told the audience.
"Do we have the workforce to fill the needs of Miami-Dade and
all of South Florida to fill the opportunities that are available?"
for workforce development was born a few years ago when the One
Community One Goal job-creation effort spearheaded by the Greater
Miami Chamber of Commerce turned up concerns in all eight of its
targeted industries that enough skilled high-level workers wouldn't
be available to take advantage of growth opportunities.
concern was evident both in the Beacon Council session and last
Wednesday when developer Leonard Miller of Lennar Corp. addressed
the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce trustees on the Annenberg
Challenge, an effort to make public education more effective. Both
referred to the One Community findings as a call to action.
Shomar, director of the School of Design & Technology at Miami-Dade
Community College, told the Beacon Council breakfast at the Biltmore
Hotel that part of the worker gap may be illusory.
I was at IBM five years ago, I had to find engineers and technicians"
and noted a great scarcity, he said. "On the educational side,
our fear is, can we place the students we are training? Clearly,
there is a disconnect."
much of the gap is real, Mr. Shomar said, and his college is stepping
up to meet the challenge in an innovative way a complete
reorganization to meet the needs of business.
a very brave step to take the largest community college in the nation"
with 128,000 students "and the No. 1 community college in the
nation in quality and revamp it so that it is responsive to the
he said, that's what M-DCC has done in direct response to the One
Community One Goal study, splitting off much of the college into
individual schools that track the specific key development areas
outlined in the One Community study, including new schools that
focus on film and entertainment, education, aviation and the visitor
restructured our entire management team so that we can be responsive"
to the needs of business, Mr. Shomar said, creating 32 new programs
ranging from very short-term training up to an associate's degree
college, he said, has gone after, and gotten, $30 million from the
state to establish programs solely based on the One Community One
recognition of the needs of the business community seems broad and
e in e-commerce development stands for education," said Roger
Cuevas, superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
He said the school district has developed major partnerships with
corporations that include Honda, Toyota, Maytag, Oracle and Cisco
to develop training programs specifically meeting their needs and
geared to their products and the schools seek similar partnerships
throughout the business community.
need your input in the process of developing the curriculum and
in buying the hardware," Mr. Cuevas said.
Franklyn Casale, president of St. Thomas University, said the Institute
for Workforce Enhancement at his school has developed more than
seven programs in its two short years. They are geared, he said,
for the adult worker who has neither the time nor money to attend
University this year began both bachelor's and master's degree programs
in e-commerce, said Jack Scarborough, dean of the business school.
move to cope with this tremendous change in the demands of the workforce
is to move into technology," he said.
the theme of a business-education partnership, Mr. Scarborough said
that Barry has worked with both the Internet Coast and the Miami
Internet Alliance in setting up its e-commerce programs.
is a need for partnerships between industry and schools," he
said. "It is absolutely essential."
& Wales University meets that need with tailor-made programs for
business, said Donald McGregor, president of the Florida campus
of the Rhode Island-based institution. "We try to develop programs
that the industry wants locally."
half the students at the Johnson & Wales campus in Miami-Dade come
from outside the region, he said, for training focused on the hospitality
industry. His aim, he said, is to keep as many as possible of those
trained students in the community after graduation.
the University of Miami has special programs for industry
programs not found in the university catalog. They come out of the
School of Continuing Studies, which creates specialized programs
that train 25,000 students a year, said Carol Holden, dean of that
programs at her school, she said, are geared to meet needs springing
from the "seismic social shift going on in America and here
in South Florida," where the preponderance of the workforce
has risen in just a few years from 18- to 34-year-olds to 34- to
school, she said, designs programs for individual corporations to
meet the technological needs of that changing workforce.
a specialized program, kind of high niche," Dr. Holden said.
can't be all things to all people," said Modesto Maidique,
president of Florida International University. "We are in the
process of focusing on three areas that are going to guide us for
the next 10 years and beyond."
areas, he said, deal with preserving the environment, biomedical
and biotechnology, and telecommunications.
planned $10 million FIU technology institute that will be home to
the nation's top computer scientists, Mr. Maidique said, today awaits
approval from the Florida Board of Regents, which governs the state's
of the new partnership between education and business were echoed
think," M-DCC's Mr. Shomar said, "educators have stepped
off of their ivory tower a little bit and are listening to the business