Working For Brevard
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by Lisa Rice
“Owners and managers of small businesses in Brevard are well aware of the looming end of the Space Shuttle Program and the effect it is having on Brevard County and the thousands of businesses that call the Space Coast home.
With the Space Shuttle Program, and the resulting job loss, near an end, those same owners and managers have probably all asked themselves the same question:
Where do we go from here?
And the best answer I have is: forward. That’s the only answer if Brevard is going to be the highly-competitive, innovative and prosperous area that we know it to be. Of course, this is not going to happen overnight.
According to recent trends, we are three to five years away from starting to see Brevard’s economy rebound. And I truly believe we will have a larger, stronger workforce and more businesses in Brevard when all is said and done.
1. The most important thing we can do is work together toward our common success. One way to accomplish this is to buy locally. If your business has a product that needs to be made or a service that needs to be delivered and you’re working with a company outside the county, take a look at a Brevard business. If you’re supporting Brevard businesses, you’re supporting your own, as well.
2. Hire locally. Looking at Brevard’s labor force numbers you’ll quickly notice that they’ve been declining, which means people are moving away. This is a trend we must begin to reverse.
3. Hire Aerospace Workers. We stand at a point in which Brevard businesses can take advantage of a very skilled workforce that includes those with degrees, former aerospace workers and high tech workers. If your business is ready to start growing again or ready to start replacing some workers you’ve lost in recent years, then you have a large pool of candidates that are highly-skilled, technical and could even be your neighbor.
4. Not all businesses are ready to hire. Brevard Workforce offers hiring incentives for businesses that participate in programs like On-the-Job Training and Adult Work Experience. The programs include paying wages while your job candidate gets that last bit of training needed to fit into your open position.
5. Brevard’s future by no means is solely dependent on the Space Shuttle program. We need to be aware of opportunities within emerging industries such as alternative energy and commercial space ventures. Given its history and talented workforce, Brevard is ripe for further development in these industries.
6. We need to recognize what are our neighbors are doing. In the Orlando area, for example, there’s a great deal happening in the health care industry — and not just patient care, but in research and development, modeling and simulation, photonics and laser optics. We need to be looking at these regions and asking, “What’s growing over there?” This is very important because if it’s growing over there, it can grow over here, too.
7. Another huge step toward an economic rebound in Brevard will be through assisting the growth and expansion of businesses that are already here. We’re starting to see this growth happen and we need to continue to work together and support one another to continue this trend.
8. Stay involved even if you don’t feel like you can hire. A great example is helping out with entrepreneurship. If you’re the owner or manager of a successful small business, talk with potential entrepreneurs about what it takes to run a successful business. Share your knowledge. Share your pitfalls. If you’d like to get involved, there are several small business assistance agencies throughout Brevard. If you don’t know of one, contact Brevard Workforce and a staff member will help you make that connection.
We have the capability to cultivate and grow on our own in Brevard County. All it takes is for all of us to continue working together.
If we do, the answer to the question of where Brevard goes from here will be simple: forward.”
Lisa Rice is the President of Brevard Workforce