Writer: Liz Palmer
3 min read July 2022 — No region is immune to the headaches that accompany robust growth but Central Florida is taking an approach that could wind up mitigating growing pains. Organizations such as BizLink Orange, the Hispanic Federation, Florida Blue and CareerSource Central Florida are showing up in different ways to pursue the economic empowerment of Central Florida residents and keep everyone moving forward.
opens in a new windowBizLink Orange is an organization under the National Entrepreneur Center that acts as a free resource to Central Florida’s small businesses and entrepreneurs, providing guides on starting up, licensing, funding, research, international trade, certifications, government contracting and growth. When first opens in a new windowannounced, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said, “Orange County is home to the most innovative and hard-working business owners in the world. The County helped in the creation of the National Entrepreneur Center, and this tool provides the next logical step for connecting business owners to the resources that will support their growth, which benefits our entire region.”
The Hispanic Federation launched the opens in a new windowAdvance Change Together (ACT) initiative last month on the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse that will support Latinx LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations through a $1 million fund that will be dispersed in grants of $50,000 or less. “The ACT initiative is the most recent step we’re taking to strengthen organizations who are at the forefront of empowering Latinx LGBTQ+ communities,” said Frankie Miranda, CEO of the Hispanic Federation, in the program’s opens in a new windowpress release in June. “As we remember the 49 lives that were taken during the Pulse Club massacre, and as a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation continues to sweep across the country, there has never been a more urgent moment to launch the ACT initiative. We hope that more community members, philanthropic partners, and businesses from across the country join our efforts by contributing and donating to this important work – not just during Pride Month, but for years to come.”
In an interview with Invest:, Market President of Florida Blue Tony Jenkins said his priorities boil down to access to quality care and health literacy. “There are so many distractions but we have to stay focused and disciplined on what our mission is, which is helping people and communities achieve better health,” he said. Two weeks ago, Florida Blue announced a partnership with Magic Gaming to organize an esports, health-focused academy for teens and young adults called the opens in a new windowMagic Gaming Esports Academy. A opens in a new windowpress release stated the Academy’s goal is to get more young people to pursue careers in technology while learning about health and wellness.
“We hope the Academy will help translate the passion many young persons have for esports and gaming into career paths in marketing, content creation, production, game development and other areas supporting esports they may have never considered or believed were obtainable,” Jenkins said. “Sparking a desire to learn and pursue a career in a growing and thriving industry can have a lifelong impact on a student.”
In 2020, Florida Blue launched opens in a new windowTruli For Health that would act as its affiliate and give small and medium-sized businesses affordable health coverage options. As it was opens in a new windowannounced, president and CEO Pat Geraghty said, “Florida Blue is focused on expanding affordable, quality care in Florida. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and now more than ever, we need sustainable and accessible health insurance solutions for these businesses. As part of our continued effort to help more Floridians achieve better health, we built Truli for Health from the ground up for Florida’s local businesses. By working with our state’s leading health systems, physicians and community partners, Truli offers a simple, coordinated approach that puts better overall health within reach for Florida’s workforce.”
CareerSource Central Florida
Live in June, CareerSource Central Florida’s (CSCF) opens in a new windowOsceola Cares program is set to provide scholarships in re-skilling and upskilling residents with the goal of meeting employer needs for industry expansions in healthcare, construction and other sectors. Those between 18 and 24 are able to take advantage of a work experience curriculum that spans eight weeks and those not native English speakers can enroll for free in ESOL sessions.
CSCF’s RISE Employment & Training Program Office launched last month “to ensure Orlando’s residents have equitable access to opportunities for job training, coaching and support services to measurably increase their employability,” according to the opens in a new windowannouncement, acting as a career center with professionals helping Central Floridians find pathways to job training and employment while holistically addressing socioeconomic issues that can affect career success and ease of economic mobility.
opens in a new windowLevel Up Orange, another CSCF program announced this year, delivers “personal career coaches, job search support, paid college and technical training, and paid internships for those seeking to elevate their income or career path,” according to the opens in a new windownews release. Those eligible to participate in the program are residents of Orange County who have experienced financial hardship associated with the pandemic, such as “not only unemployment, but also reduced work schedules, diminished income, lost advancement opportunities, or barriers to employment, such as childcare, transportation or unique personal challenges.”
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