Workforce improvement seen as key to attracting industry

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 05:22 PM.

The form the education will take, and the development of the technical academies, is something to be decided, but that discussion needs to begin as soon as possible, Bense said.

The council currently has more than 25 members and is looking to grow the membership.

 “This new council exists to serve the needs of local manufacturers,” said Greg Britton, CEO of Fort Walton Machining and council chairman, in a news release. “By banding together we will increase our influence on a regional, state and national level to ensure our industry continues to prosper.”

Manufacturing is a high value-added industry in the economy, generating the highest earnings per worker of any industry. With more than 15,000 manufacturing jobs already in Northwest Florida, this sector is projected to grow at a higher rate than in other region throughout the state, according to Britton.

“The benefits of membership include promoting job creation and helping to build a skilled manufacturing workforce in the region,” Britton said. “And by speaking with one voice we can help tackle issues and address roadblocks.”

The council also is an affiliate chapter of the Manufacturers Association of Florida, which will offer statewide and national advocacy for members.

The board of directors for the new organization consists of leaders from several companies throughout the region, including Britton. Gulf Power President & CEO Stan Connally and Bense are the vice-chairs of the organization

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