JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested $300,000 in the Tampa Bay Partnership’s non-profit foundation to examine the region’s talent pipeline and ensure the community is producing enough skilled workers to fuel its continued economic growth.
Area business leaders will drive the effort, in collaboration with the region’s educational institutions and non-profit organizations, to develop an actionable, demand-driven strategy to address the escalating workforce challenges faced by Tampa Bay employers.
“As the Tampa Bay area continues to grow, it is essential that we have a highly-skilled workforce to meet the increasing demand from local companies,” said Ray Correa, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase in Tampa. “We are one of the largest employers in Tampa and want to ensure that all local employers have access to the talent they need to keep our region competitive.”
JPMorgan Chase has more than 5,000 employees working in the Tampa Bay area across all of its lines of businesses and has invested more than $2 million in local workforce initiatives over the last several years.
“Building a strong and sustainable talent pipeline – one that connects the skills of our workforce to the demands of our employers – is critical to creating a competitive economy,” said Rhea Law, chair of the Partnership and chair of the Florida offices of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. “JPMorgan Chase has embraced this initiative and made a substantial investment to advance it. We are incredibly grateful for their support.”
A 2018 regional benchmark report, produced by the Partnership in collaboration with United Way Suncoast and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, identified talent and workforce deficiencies as significant inhibitors of Tampa Bay’s economic competitiveness and prosperity.
The region’s overall educational attainment measurements, from high school diplomas to graduate degrees, lag decisively behind the 19 comparison markets examined in the report. Equally concerning was a relatively high percentage (13.9 percent) of 16- to 24-year-olds neither employed nor enrolled in school, and a relatively low percentage (74.9 percent) of 25- to 64-year-olds actively participating in the workforce.
In response, the Partnership launched a Regional Talent Working Group, comprised of CEOs and other senior business executives, to explore the key issues affecting the regional talent pipeline, the efforts to address those issues that are currently underway in Tampa Bay, the best practices taking place in communities nationwide, and the Partnership’s role in addressing this challenge. The group is co-chaired by Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, and Troy Taylor, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida.
These business leaders will steer the development of an employer-led, demand-driven regional workforce strategy that embraces the “collective impact” model, working in concert with existing workforce initiatives, educational institutions and workforce-related non-profit organizations to achieve shared goals.
During the 12-month study process, managed by TIP Strategies, an Austin-based consulting firm, researchers will analyze labor market data and interview workforce organizations to better understand the composition and skills of the regional labor force. They will also conduct in-depth interviews with Tampa Bay businesses to assess the alignment of the talent pool with the needs of employers and identify existing resources for education and training. Finally, the project team will work together to create a regional framework for workforce development and an implementation plan that includes employer-led industry collaboratives.
In June, the Partnership will lead members of the project team to Houston to benchmark the UpSkill Houston initiative. Launched in 2014, UpSkill Houston is among the nation’s first business-led collaborations with education and community stakeholders, and has been recognized as a model program by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Aspen Institute.