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CAMC Works on Multiple Fronts to Strengthen Region’s Manufacturing Sector

CAMC Works on Multiple Fronts to Strengthen Region’s Manufacturing Sector

Susan Pareigis

Susan Pareigis

Last week, Gainesville Area Advanced Manufacturers attended the Chamber’s Advanced Manufacturing Council meeting, taking a deep dive on the role of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the success and growth of their industry. Florida Chamber of 100 President/CEO Susan Pareigis discussed the Gainesville region’s academic strengths—the state’s preeminent university and most educated workforce, the Nation’s No. 1 community college, and five high schools in the top 7% of the nation’s most challenging high schools—and opportunities to leverage them to grow the industry’s talent pool. Pareigis expressed a bright outlook for our region’s manufacturing industry, citing it as being “at the center of the next revolution in the State of Florida.” Debbie McMullian, Director of CareerSource Florida’s Quick Response Program, educated attendees on how they could access $1,500-$1,800 per employee to provide customized training. Find more information about Quick Response Training here.

Debbie McMullian

Debbie McMullian

The Second Quarter CAMC meeting follows months of hard work exerted this year by the CAMC Board’s 15 members to engage in and support efforts across public policy, talent, education and regional capacity-building initiatives to strengthen North Central Florida’s Advanced Manufacturing sector and workforce. Highlights include:

  • Advocating for Business Climate Improvements: During the 2015 Legislative Session, the CAMC supported Chamber efforts to advocate for permanent elimination of Florida’s Manufacturing Machinery & Equipment Sales & Use Tax by writing letters to legislators and attending a federation call to hear a state update and connect with lawmakers on this issue. Special thanks to Senator Dorothy Hukill and Representative MaryLynn Magar, who respectively sponsored the Senate and House bills to eliminate the tax. Additional thanks to Manufacturing Association of Florida President Al Stimac for his leadership, as well as the organization’s Executive Director, Nancy Stephens, for her weekly updates and continued efforts to grow the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. As we head into the Special Legislative Session beginning June 1, we will continue to monitor related issues.
  • Strengthening Talent & Education: The first statewide Manufacturing Career Fair was held April 22 in more than 30 locations across Florida. The local event was held in conjunction with the Chamber’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) Job Fair, giving local manufacturers a prime opportunity to connect with potential employees who are highly qualified in these areas.
  • Building Capacity: The CAMC led the Northeast Florida Bioscience Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in submitting a comprehensive application for the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnerships” federal designation. Together with 30 consortium partners and 19 non-consortium partners, Alachua County and 16 other Northeast Florida counties demonstrated a unified regional manufacturing presence and developed strategies to invest in six areas: 1) workforce and training, 2) advanced research, 3) infrastructure and site development, 4) supply chain support, 5) trade and international investment, 6) operational improvement and capital access.

During its first quarter meeting earlier this year, the Advanced Manufacturing Council learned about state and local policy and education developments from Manufacturing Association of Florida Chairman Al Stimac and UF Engineering Innovation Institute Director Erik Sander.

The Next CAMC Quarterly meeting will be held in August.

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