Employment Rebound

Job market heats up; health, tech jobs in demand

(page 3 of 3)

courtesy of FSU photography Services

Susan Fiorito is director of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship at FSU.


Nonprofits can also offer employees the chance to move into management.

Nonprofits are major employers in Leon County, said Jessica Lowe-Minor, executive director of FSU’s Institute For Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence. “One in 10 jobs in Leon County is a nonprofit job,” she said. “These range from institutions as large as Tallahassee Memorial Hospital to small nonprofits with one or two staff. Altogether, there are 2,000 nonprofits that collect $3.1 billion in revenue.”

Finding a good job doesn’t always require a four-year degree. There’s a growing emphasis on training and short-term certification programs geared to the needs of employers.

The I/O Avenue Code Academy (which stands for Input/Output) is a new 12-week, $6,000 bootcamp tech program that focuses on web development. There’s also a $500 introductory course available.

The Academy is a collaboration between Domi Station, Florida A&M University and the office of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum “to help fill a need in Tallahassee,” said Ryan Kopinsky, the academy’s director. The academy will be able to offer “an underserved community” the latest technological developments, he said.

Seventy percent of the 200 applicants for the program’s first classes in September were female, which is “encouraging” in a male-dominated field, Kopinsky said.

“There are 500 tech jobs every year that go unfilled,” he said. “These are high-paying jobs and we don’t have the people to fill them.”

Educators and business leaders have been working more closely in recent years to offer skills needed in Northwest Florida with the educational system and programs like Workforce Development at Tallahassee Community College.

“In 2013, what I saw was a huge gap between what employers were asking for, and what educational institutions were delivering, in terms of what skills students had and the knowledge they had,” said Kimberly Moore, vice president for Workforce Innovation at Tallahassee Community College.

The Workforce program offers courses that can help an employee gain skills or change careers. The program offers short-term certification in fields like air-conditioning, driving a commercial truck, cyber security, maintaining industrial machines and welding.  Most classes are offered at night.

“In 12 months or less, students can embrace a new career,” said Moore. “The ultimate goal is for individuals to gain employment. We listened to employers when we designed the curriculum.”

Feeney, of AIF, said “all sorts of companies need people with vocational skills. It’s important “not to be locked into one job or location or learn how to do one thing.”

Plumbing and electrical work are among fields that stay in demand. “You can work with robotics without being a robotic engineer,” he said.


Shifting Economy

“Forty or fifty years ago, young people were expected to work at the same facility for decades, retire at 65 and get a gold watch,” said Feeney. “Now it’s not what company are you working for but what project are you working on.”

A shifting economy has helped make entrepreneurship a growing alternative for innovators of all ages.

“There have always been people who have decided to go out on their own,” said Susan Fiorito, director of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship at FSU. “But during the recession, when companies started downsizing, people had to figure out whether they could work for another large corporation or go out on their own.”

In 2015, Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation committed $100 million to FSU to expand the Jim Moran Institute’s operations statewide and create the School of Entrepreneurship.

The university accepted 80 students as entrepreneurship majors in the new school program. Of those, 60 are pursuing commercial businesses and 20 are going for nonprofits and businesses geared to helping the community or society as opposed to a product or service.

“They have to have that inner passion,” said Fiorito. “Not everyone can be the CEO of a company but you can be the CEO of your own company.”

Faculty members are entrepreneurs including Mark McNees, the founder of the nonprofit Red Eye Coffee, which now has five locations.

“Entrepreneurship allows you to create the career you want but it’s not for everybody,” said McNees who works with students seeking internships in entrepreneurship.

Doug Tatum, a member of the Jim Moran School of  Entrepreneurship faculty, CEO and author, said the school has developed a specialized plan or an “internship in a box” that allows students to work with small or mid-size companies that wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to work with a student.

Occupations in Demand

The top 15 advertised occupations in Gadsden, Leon and Wakulla counties
(August 2017)

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Computer systems analysts
  3. Management analysts
  4. Business Operations Specialists
  5. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
  6. Software developers, applications
  7. Computer user support specialists
  8. Marketing managers
  9. Medical and health services managers
  10. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
  11. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  12. Social and human services assistants
  13. Web developers
  14. Information technology project managers
  15. Retail salespersons

The Conference Board, Help Wanted Online, prepared by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Labor Statistics

CareerSource Capital Region Top Private Employers

  • Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare    3,674
  • Walmart    2,631
  • Publix    1,563
  • Capital Regional Medical Center    968
  • McDonald’s     826
  • Winn-Dixie    759
  • Pizza Hut / KFC / Taco Bell    685
  • Tallahassee International Airport    620
  • Capital Health Plan (a)    600
  • Marriott Hotels    489
  • Chick-fil-A    447
  • Capital Health Plan (b)    401
  • Sears / Kmart    389
  • CVS Pharmacy    384
  • Coastal Forest Resources Co    350
  • Westminster Oaks     350
  • HealthSouth    343
  • Target    330
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