Southeast Florida’s industry clusters and labor markets increasingly function at a regional scale. As one example, nearly one out of four Broward County residents commute across the county line to go to work. Southeast Florida’s economic strategy should increasingly take a regional perspective that matches these business and labor markets.
If the region works together, it can better compete for global investment and provide a unified voice in Washington D.C. and Tallahassee. Critical mass comes from size: Southeast Florida is the 9th most populous region and 11th largest economy in the United States. With 6.1 million residents in the seven counties in 2010, the region is approaching the size of Tampa Bay and Orlando combined. Projected 2060 population of 9.1 million residents would put the region at about the size of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore combined today.
Economic development, workforce, and education decisions in Southeast Florida today are fragmented among seven county governments, six primary economic development organizations, four regional workforce boards, two regional planning councils, and numerous college, universities, economic development partnerships, and chambers of commerce. Harnessing the reach and resources of these organizations to common regional goals is an important foundation for the future.
In support of the Seven50 economic vision and the other priorities outlined in this report, the Southeast Florida region should continue to improve coordination and collaboration to compete globally as a leading region.
Key strategies include:
- Developing a seven-county Economic Development Strategic Plan that builds upon and supports the two Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies and seven county plans, as well as others;
- Establish a seven-county economic development partnership, perhaps as a virtual organization with periodic collaboration among the boards of existing economic development organizations;
- Market Southeast Florida globally as a place to live, learn, visit, work, and do business;
- Align regional economic development priorities with state and national initiatives, with emphasis on implementation of the Florida Strategic Plan for Economic Development;
- Identify successful practices that can be shared among counties; and
- Provide data, tools, and technical assistance to help Southeast Florida counties to expand economic development capacity.