From the Tallahassee Democrat
Beginning this summer, the city of Tallahassee plans to fill a workforce gap by training job seekers on how to use heavy equipment used in road construction.
Three months on the job, Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said he learned this is a job sector that’s fallen through the trade-training cracks but is desperately needed. It’s also the first time, to his knowledge, a Florida municipality has used its equipment to fulfill a labor need and partner with workforce groups.
“We know by talking to the road construction industry, everybody needs these workers,” Dailey said of the three-month program in the works. “It’s 100 percent job placement.”
The new initiative was one of several economy-centered ideas coming out of the Mayor’s Office. On Tuesday, in one of his early keynote appearances as Tallahassee’s newly elected mayor, Dailey talked like a coach prepping his team for the big game at Access Tallahassee’s annual meeting at the Florida State University Alumni Center.
With a new mayor and three new commissioners, Dailey said the city has a fresh start and plans to “aggressively expand our economic footprint.”
He touched off a checklist of initiatives already accomplished or under review, including a five-year strategic plan for the city and ensuring services and programs offered by the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality are properly supported by local government.
Dailey, a three-term county commissioner before his mayoral win in 2018, pointed to efforts bound to shift and improve the quality of life for residents. For example, a community-driven action plan is moving forward to improve the Bond community. Other neighborhoods took notice and want to model the same revitalization effort.
He said politicians come and go, but residents shouldn’t be satisfied if they ask why and the answer is, “that’s the way it’s always been.”
“Institutional change is the challenge,” he said. “That is where we as a community need to come together to move forward.”
Access Tallahassee is an association within the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Launched in 2006, it offers networking and development opportunities for young professionals with 450 members representing 275 businesses.
It hosted more than 30 events last year, including three “Tally Job Hop” events that allowed bright college students on the verge of graduation a chance to meet company leaders hunting for new talent. It’s meant to curb the “brain drain” facing Tallahassee when graduates flee the city in search of jobs in other cities.
“Tally Job Hop is our way of trying to get people out of the campus bubble,” said Richard Darabi, Access Tallahassee’s chairman.
He said Dailey’s remarks touched on key areas and challenges discussed within the business community.
“You couldn’t hit it out of the park better than to have John come, speak to our group and inform us on all of the initiatives he’s taking on from a public policy standpoint and how they are affecting the business community.”