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Ron DeSantis: Florida Leads the Nation in Attracting and Developing Skilled Workforce

Florida’s focus on training workers with the technical skills and credentials is paying off as the Sunshine State has been named number one in the U.S. for attracting and developing a skilled workforce.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this ranking as a part of Lightcast’s 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard, which confirms that our state’s strong policies, open economy, and focus on education have solidified Florida as the nation’s best state to learn, work and live.

“By keeping Florida free and open, we have created a positive economic environment and invested in our state’s workforce and communities,” said DeSantis. “As a result, Florida is leading the nation in net migration and talent attraction. As other states continue to struggle at the hands of poor leadership, people and businesses are flocking to Florida.”

“Each Floridian benefits when our state is providing high-paying jobs in growth fields that will boost our economy for years to come,” said Florida Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella. “The proof is everywhere as counties big and small are growing and thriving thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis who has prioritized aligning employee training and education with local workforce needs.”

This is the seventh year Lightcast has prepared the scorecard. The report measures seven growth areas of the most recent five-year period including net migration of counties adding new residents, education attainment, job creation, skilled job creation, competitive effect, and average annual job openings.

Highlights show successful job creation and growth across the state in counties big and small:

Florida led the nation’s states in talent attraction with fifteen large counties in the top 50, led by Hillsborough County (#8), Polk (#10), Lee (#12), St Johns (#18), and Pasco (#20).

Florida also led all states in net migration, adding more than 388,000 residents between 2016-20. That is nearly double than the next state, Texas.

Three Florida counties were among the top ten large counties nationally in net migration: Lee, Pasco and Polk Counties.

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Nassau County led the nation in net migration among small counties with Walton County ranked fourth.

“Florida’s #1 ranking in talent attraction and net migration is proof that Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First policies work. Businesses and families move to Florida because they know our state is the best place to grow. The state’s unemployment rate remains low, while private sector employment and job growth continue to soar,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle. “DEO is proud to work with Enterprise Florida and other state partners to help bring Governor DeSantis’ vision of a strong, resilient Florida workforce to fruition. We will continue to make smart, strategic investments to meet the workforce demands of Florida businesses and keep the state’s economy strong.”

“The latest Lightcast Talent Attraction Scorecard’s ranking of Florida as the No. 1 state for attracting and developing talent further proves that Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership has well-positioned our state for continued economic growth,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “Florida’s wide margin in net migration over other states demonstrates what Florida residents know to be true – Florida is the top destination for quality of life as well as a great state to build or grow a business.”

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida has laid the groundwork for lasting success,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. “Our number one ranking for talent attraction is more proof that we are on the right track when it comes to education and economics. We stand ready to build on our successes and continue moving forward for the benefit of all Floridians.”


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