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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor's Economic Advisory Committee announced key findings aimed at addressing local economic and social disparities during a news conference on April 22. Details on three new programs based on the committee's recommendations were also released.
The Economic Advisory Committee focused its recommendations on four key areas: (1) Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth (2) Reducing Poverty (3) Committing to Racial Equity (4) Emphasizing Educational Opportunity
Within these key areas, the Advisory Committee identified ten specific measures that, if improved, could positively influence that area of focus.
"Now more than ever, we have a duty to make transformational change," stated Mayor Castor. "To make our communities a place where all individuals can thrive, where they can find economic prosperity, and where everyone can have equal access to opportunity."
To help jumpstart these recommendations, the City announced two new initiatives in addition to the establishment of the Mayor's Workforce Council. This newly created Council will help guide policy and implementation of vital workforce strategies and build a pipeline of workers to support and grow Tampa's economy.
The first initiative seeks to close the local digital divide. Residents in under-resourced areas are now able to access high-speed internet service for educational and vocational purposes at 20 out of 27 City of Tampa Recreation Centers. The City is also working with telecommunication service providers to further expand digital availability to all neighborhoods.
A second key recommendation that is already underway will help drive improvement toward unemployment and particularly racial gap unemployment. Tampa's Defined Readiness Ensuring Added Momentum (DREAM) initiative will provide year-round employment opportunities for up to 50 young adults while enabling them to learn critical job skills and explore various career options. This program will be housed in the City's Parks and Recreation Department and funded through a partnership with CareerSource Tampa Bay.
Last fall, Mayor Castor worked alongside City Council to form the 25-member Economic Advisory Committee, which serves as part of her mission for Transforming Tampa's Tomorrow strategic plan focused on housing affordability, workforce development, community-centric services, transportation, and sustainability and resilience.
The citizen panel is comprised of subject matter experts, key stakeholders and community leaders. Representatives from the University of South Florida and the USF Muma College of Business chaired the committee and facilitated the group's discussions, conclusions, and recommendations.
The Economic Advisory Committee's complete report is available online at Tampa.gov/T3/Economic
Mayor Castor and her administration would like to thank Dean Moez Limayem of the USF Muma College of Business and Dr. Michael Bloom, Associate Vice President for Corporate Partnerships and Innovation along with members of the Economic Advisory Committee for volunteering their time and sharing their insights and expertise to develop these recommendations:
Economic Advisory Committee Members
Moez Limayem, USF Lynn Pippenger Dean of the Muma College of Business
Dr. Michael Bloom, USF Associate Vice President for Corporate Partnerships and Innovation
Advisory Committee Team Members
Jeremy Bunkley, Chief Technology Officer, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Juawana Colbert, Small Business Association
Ernest Coney, Chief Executive Officer, CDC of Tampa
Ronald Christaldi, Managing Partner, Shumaker Loop and Kendrick, LLP
Terrie Daniel, AVP, USF Office of Supplier Diversity
Terry Eagan, Project Manager, Tampa-Hillsborough Planning Commission
John Flanagan, Chief Executive Officer, CareerSource Tampa Bay
Henry Gonzalez, III, Beach Bank
Sandra Guggino, Hillsborough Community College
Bobby Harris, Chief Executive Officer, Blue Grace Logistics
Rick Homans, Chief Executive Officer, Tampa Bay Partnership
Yvette Lewis, President, NAACP
Sonya Little, Chief Administrative Officer, Strategic Property Partners
Missy Martin, Roche Surety and Casualty Co., Inc.
Cory Person, Partner, Hill, Ward Henderson
Randy Randolph, Pastor, Abundant Life Church and CEO, R.L. Building Contractors, Inc.
Craig Richard, Chair, Tampa Bay Economic Development Corporation
Bob Rohrlack, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Chamber
Sheila Solomon Rudd, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Job Links
Francisco Sanchez, Partner, Holland & Knight
Andy Joe Scaglione, Real Estate Investor
Lakshmi Shenoy, Chief Executive Officer, Embarc Collective
Brandon Wagner, Government Relations, Hillsborough County
Andrew Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Franklin Street
Mercedes Young, Chief Executive Officer, Vivid Consulting Group
Janelle H. McGregor, 813-310-5545