“Succeed Florida!” Billboard on the Corner of Apalachee Parkway and Hendrix Road Promotes Continued Statewide Growth
TALLAHASSEE, FL (April 16, 2014) – While Washington remains stuck in neutral, Florida continues leading as a national model for economic growth, job creation and academic achievement – the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) said today. This shared message – “Succeed Florida!” – proudly appears on a Tallahassee billboard, and debunks another area billboard message encouraging Florida to secede from the union.
“There are some who would like to see Florida fail, and even break away from the rest of the country. At the Florida Chamber, we share their frustration with Washington, D.C., but seceding is not the answer,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce in a video message. “Instead, we must continue down the path that has opened doors of opportunity for Florida’s families and businesses. We are succeeding and we will continue to lead this nation back to prosperity.”
In the weeks before the 2014 Legislative Session began, a billboard encouraging Florida to secede from the union appeared on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, just blocks from the state capitol. In response, the Florida Chamber and ICUF have partnered on the “Succeed Florida!” billboard.
“In spite of what is happening in our nation’s capital, Floridians should be proud of the tremendous growth and accomplishment our state has achieved in recent years,” said Dr. Ed Moore, President of ICUF in a video message. “Our country has always been known as the ‘land of opportunity’ and there’s no better place than Florida to pursue and attain your version of the American dream. Washington should take note of what we’re doing in Florida because we’ve got the right formula to prepare our students for successful careers, ensure there are ample employment opportunities to keep them in the state and help our businesses grow and thrive.”
Poised to become the third largest state in the union, Florida has established itself as a job creation leader. More than half a million jobs have been created in the last three years. The state’s unemployment rate has been cut almost in half, from a little more than 11 percent to 6.1 percent, and Florida’s job demand is at an all-time high for the fourth month in a row. With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, Floridians now have more opportunities to find jobs that will provide for their families and their future.
A growing number of jobs is being matched by the state’s success in filling the talent pipeline. Student graduation and retention rates are continuing to improve at Florida’s institutions of higher learning with more students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – fields with an increasing workforce demand. ICUF institutions currently award 38 percent of the state’s STEM degrees, contributing to this critical component of economic development in Florida.
According to a March 25 economic forecast released by the University of Central Florida Institute for Economic Competitiveness, Florida’s economic recovery is outpacing the nation because of its declining unemployment, job growth rate and positive economic activity.
In addition to Florida’s positive economic outlook, the state’s crime rate is at a 42-year low, tourism experienced a record year in 2013 with more than 94 million visitors travelling to the Sunshine State, the housing market is on the up-swing and the K-12 public education system is ranked sixth in the nation.
For more information on the Florida Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.flchamber.com. For more information on ICUF, please visit www.icuf.org.
Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.