How do We Keep A-Rated Schools on a Shoestring Budget?

Orange Park, FL, March 04, 2009 --( School districts across the country have experienced significant budget cuts. How will Americans develop the future workforce on a shoestring budget? This question and others will be discussed at the 3rd Annual Workforce and Education Forum: Partnerships for a Competitive Workforce: Defining the Future. The Clay County Chamber Foundation and Community First Credit Union of Florida are excited to host the forum on Friday, March 20th. John Delaney, President of the University of North Florida (UNF) and interim chancellor of the State University System of Florida is the luncheon keynote. Our economic prosperity and competitiveness rest on the shoulders of today's students. This is your chance to be a part of a regional forum to discuss the trends in workforce and education and how we can make a difference in our communities if we form partnerships.

John Delaney’s presidency at UNF continues a distinguished career as a public servant. He served two terms as mayor of Jacksonville, the country’s 13th largest city, spearheading major initiatives including The Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.2 billion improvement plan that gave the city new public facilities and other amenities. He also created the Preservation Project, a massive land conservation program giving Jacksonville the distinction of having the largest urban park system in the United States.

In addition, panel discussions will be held on “Trends in Workforce and Education” and “Business Principals”. Chris Hart IV, President and CEO of Workforce Florida, Inc. the nonprofit public-private organization charged with policy-setting and oversight of Florida’s workforce is scheduled to participate as a panelist. Workforce Florida was created by the Florida Legislature in 2000 through the Workforce Innovation Act. In this role, Hart if at the center of efforts to ensure the state has the workforce talent needed to strengthen the global competitiveness of Florida business while also assisting Floridians with advancing their skills and qualifying them for better jobs.

Andrea Messina, a member of the Charlotte County School Board and the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind will participate with Hart on the “Trends in Workforce and Education” panel. In February 2005, Andrea was asked to serve on the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind. It is in this role that she traveled the country, receiving testimony and studying the effects of NCLB. The final report of the Commission was presented to Congress and the President in February 2007. Sue Bloom, Workforce Development with the Salem, Oregon Chamber and other leading educational and business experts will also participate in the panel discussions.

“There has never been a time when our education system needed business and community support more than now,” said Art Shuster, Chair of the Chamber’s Workforce and Education Department and owner of Shake’s Frozen Custard. “With budgets slashed and education requirements rising, our involvement and assistance to the education system can be key to achieving more with less. This education forum will focus on building a new relationship between business and education leaders for the benefit of a better educated workforce and our future.”

This is your chance to be a part of a regional forum to discuss the trends in workforce and education and how we can make a difference in our communities if we form partnerships. The Third Annual Workforce & Education Forum is an opportunity for the Clay County Chamber to hear your voice as they develop partnerships to make Clay County a community where our citizens can live, work and play. Together we can overcome the challenges that businesses and educators are facing during this difficult time.

The forum will be held on Friday, March 20, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites, located at 620 Wells Road in Orange Park. The cost is $50 and advance registration is required. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please call (904) 264-2651 or email to register

Clay County Chamber of Commerce
Leigh Ann Rassler