Advanced Manufacturing

Northeast Florida is Building Bridges for the Workforce of Tomorrow

As Jacksonville’s population continues to grow twice as fast as the national average, the demand for qualified construction workers and engineers also grows. Last week, JAXUSA Partnership participated in Northeast Florida’s Construction Career Days to help educate high school students and adult learners on the tools and resources offered through Earn Up that will help them build an outstanding career in the region specifically in the construction and engineering industries.

In 1999, transportation industry officials began an educational outreach program for high school students in order to increase the number of workers in the construction industry. The purpose of this program, Construction Career Days, is to provide a hands-on environment so students can gain better insight into what working in the industry is like. This year, Northeast Florida was the largest student-attended Construction Career Days across the state and participating companies included Miller Electric, RS&H, JEA, Haskell, Ring Power and more.

Nearly 3,000 students from more than 70 schools across 16 counties in Northeast Florida participated in Construction Career Days. From building virtual bridges to handling some of the tools that are used in construction work, the learning labs gave students an interactive experience that goes beyond what they would typically learn in the classroom. Under supervision of FDOT, students were also able to operate heavy machinery like tractors, scissor lifts, and excavators.

The availability of talent is among the most important components of a company’s decision to relocate or expand, which is why talent development is a key component of the region’s strategic plan. By promoting the development of accessible career pathways, the region is able to create a robust talent pipeline that is reflective of employer needs and serves as a competitive differentiator for Northeast Florida.

“Opportunities that provide real-world job experience like Construction Career Days allow us to spark students’ interest and build homegrown talent,” says Anna Lebesch, JAXUSA Senior Vice President of Strategy and Talent Development. “Growing the pool of qualified workers, whether in a skilled trade or one of our target industries, positions Northeast Florida to be a significant talent hub now and for years to come.”

The Jacksonville region is devoted to developing the next generation’s workforce by creating structures and programs that are tied into its target industries and high-growth areas. To learn more about JAXUSA’s workforce development initiative and how your company can get involved in building the workforce of tomorrow, visit