Recovery and Beyond

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The COVID -19 pandemic has put considerable strain on the nation’s economy, and Southwest Florida has not been exempt from that stress. As we begin the recovery process, it’s important to address lessons learned once again.

First, to attain resilience in the long term, efforts to seek greater economic diversity must continue. Tourism, transfer payments (retirees), the services sector, construction and health care will, of course, remain at the economic epicenter. But fostering continued growth in high technology, medical technology, clean energy and so on will also serve to provide a buffer for Southwest Florida against future shocks.

Second, redoubling the commitment to workforce development and workforce improvements is absolutely essential to our existing core sectors, for attracting new businesses and in advancing economic diversity. This means investing in education at all levels.

  • A high-quality PreK-12 system is the launching pad for lifelong success—plus, the quality of our public schools is a primary factor in business relocations.
  • Post-secondary education provides the employees and business leaders to shape the economic future. Entrepreneurs create the businesses not yet imagined.
  • We should resist the inclination to treat technical and university education as mutually exclusive. Someone who seeks to be a plumber today may want to own and operate a plumbing business tomorrow. Thus, a blend of technical skills and business management is optimal. At FGCU, we are committed to being a partner in this regard.
  • Beyond the “traditional” post-secondary education, the future economy will require continuous workforce improvement and adaptability. Lifelong learning— formally through certificate or retraining programs, or informally through experiential learning—is ever more critical.
Photo Credit: James Greco


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