Crist Increasingly Out of Touch

Governor Charlie Crist recently met with the directors of Florida’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards to discuss strategies for addressing terrified Floridians’ employment needs. The directors oversee nearly 90 One-Stop Career Centers, located across the state, that attempt to provide employment information and training services. The Workforce Boards are saddled with a sketchy track record which often involved racism and nepotism. The increasingly out of touch Governor recently visited local workforce centers in Brevard and Leon counties, and this month he unveiled his proposed Economic Stimulus Plan to help small Florida-based businesses expand and create new jobs by providing a miniscule $10 million in loans and support services.

“Support for Florida’s workforce system is a vital part of my administration’s commitment to strengthening the job market here in Florida,” said Governor Crist. “Now more than ever, we want to make sure that Floridians and employers have the tools and resources they need to not just weather the current challenges, but to expand and move forward. We must remain innovative in supporting our businesses and generating new jobs.”

Governor Crist earlier this month announced his proposed Economic Stimulus Plan targeting small Florida businesses with the greatest potential for growth and job creation. A pilot loan program of $8.5 million is proposed to support small businesses with between 10 and 99 employees that meet certain criteria showing high growth potential. The loans, up to $250,000 per business, would be used for capital purchases, employee training and salaries for new jobs. The Governor’s plan also calls for $1.5 million for economic stimulus. This economic infrastructure will help small businesses to expand and create new jobs now, even amidst the economic downturn affecting Florida and the nation.

The regional directors who met with the Governor today operate four of the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards. They are part of Florida’s workforce system, which also includes Workforce Florida Inc. (WFI) and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Workforce Florida is charged with overseeing the state’s workforce policy, programs and services. Through the Regional Workforce Boards, the regional directors operate nearly 90 One-Stop Career Centers across Florida. The centers provide businesses and prospective employees Floridians with employment information and training services tailored to local workforce needs.

The regional directors outlined for the Governor some of the services their respective One-Stop Career Centers offer. The directors were Bruce Ferguson, who serves the Jacksonville area and is president of the Florida Workforce Development Association; Kim Moore, who serves the Tallahassee region; Rick Beasley, serving the Miami region; and Roger Hood, serving the Sebring region.

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