Excerpt from The Miami Herald
On Friday afternoon, a group of nearly 150 business leaders gathered in a hotel ballroom and graded Miami-Dade’s economic outlook for the next five years. The report card would make few parents proud: nearly half the room handed out a C.
With more than $600,000, a crew of consultants and support from a slew of businesses and organizations, the Beacon Council is spearheading an effort to raise that grade through a study called One Community One Goal.
Over the course of nearly a year, the project will seek to identify the most promising business sectors for a region struggling with 13 percent unemployment and one of the worst housing markets in the country — and then provide a plan for how to lure those jobs.
Part of the goal is to ensure that the region’s educational infrastructure is capable of filling the needs of current and target industries.
Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, is conducting the study along with site selection firm McCallum Sweeney and the nonprofit Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.
Adolfo Henriques, chairman of Gibraltar Private Bank and co-chair of One Community One Goal, named the key questions: “How do we retain the jobs we have here? What are the assets we have in this community? What are the obstacles that we have to overcome, whether real or perceived, and what are the industries today and in the future that are going to continue to provide us with attractive employment opportunities?”
Chris Engle, senior consultant with Avalanche, said during a presentation Friday that the study will look beyond the industries that dominate in Miami-Dade now, naming tourism, finance and trade.
“It’s time that we go a step further and look at how the sectors are evolving and what new sectors are around to help avoid the see-saw economy,” he said.