The Central Florida Scorecard - New Data for a New Era
Monday, September 17, 2012
Three of Central Florida's seven counties far exceed the state average in workforce talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In fact, Brevard County, known as "Florida's Space Coast," leads the way with the third-highest STEM percentage in the state at 47.6 percent, surpassed only by Alachua, home of the University of Florida, at 57.6 percent, and Okaloosa in the Panhandle, the home of three U.S. Air Force bases, with 49.2 percent. Other Central Florida counties that surpassed the state average of 36.3 percent: Seminole with 43.7 percent and Orange with 41.1 percent.
Why are these numbers significant? Because Central Florida is poised to undergo a metamorphosis, with several factors dramatically affecting the local economy: privatization of the nation's public space program in Brevard County, the continued emergence of Lake Nona Medical City in Orange County, the launch of the area's first commuter rail system along the Interstate 4 "high-tech" corridor, and rapid growth of the research programs at Central Florida universities, including Embry Riddle Aeronautical, the University of Central Florida, and Florida Institute of Technology. All of these factors and many others involve the STEM workforce.
And the region will be able to chart the effects of these projects with a new tool myregion.org is releasing Sept. 24 in a pilot program with the Florida Chamber Foundation. The Central Florida Scorecard, which will appear on the home page of www.myregion.org, is the first of its kind in the state to track not only county-by-county data but also regional information about 18 key indicators that give data on:
- Talent Supply & Education
- Innovation & Economic Development
- Infrastructure & Growth Leadership
- Business Climate & Competitiveness
- Civic & Governance Systems
- Quality of Life & Quality Places
"It's been an amazing process watching The Central Florida Scorecard come to life," says Shelley Lauten, president of myregion.org, who is overseeing the project. "Our region has known for years that we excel in many things and have room for improvement in others. Now we finally have the data to show us how our community initiatives are working and where we can next concentrate our efforts."
Key funding partners for the project include the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orlando Regional REALTORS Association, the UCF Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies, and VHB Miller Sellen.
"This investment in our community is important to us because it will give us another tool in the coming years to attract even more talent to Central Florida – and the high-paying, intellectually stimulating jobs to keep those workers here," says Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, based in Seminole County's Heathrow.
The Central Florida Scorecard will help myregion.org, one of four lines of business of the Central Florida Partnership, continue focusing on "Regional Research and Resolves" to enable the dialogue that shapes the region's future. Working with Orlando, Inc. (Regional Entrepreneurship), BusinessForce (Public Policy Advocacy), and Leadership Orlando (Regional Leadership), the Central Florida Partnership is moving "Ideas to Results."