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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 1 year ago

Talent search blooms

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University of South Florida is looking for corporate partners to prepare our workforce.

The University of South Florida has launched a new office of corporate partnerships at its research park on the Tampa campus.

USF officials say the office represents an effort to help strengthen the Tampa Bay region's talent pipeline. The move could also be viewed as a response to a recently released regional competitiveness report, compiled by the Tampa Bay Partnership, that has Tampa Bay ranked at or near the bottom in several statistical categories related to workforce development and training.

For example, 13.9% of Tampa Bay residents between the ages of 16 and 24 are not in school or not employed. Among comparable metro areas, only Charlotte, N.C., has a higher percentage of people not getting an education and not part of the workforce.

When it comes to the percentage of the population that has a bachelor's degree, the news is even more sobering: Tampa Bay ranks dead last. Only 27.7% of the populace has achieved that level of education. Contrast that with Raleigh-Durham, N.C., where nearly half — 47.2% — of the citizenry holds a bachelor's degree or higher.

USF, particularly its Muma College of Business, has already shown leadership in trying to foster closer ties between the academic and corporate worlds. Muma has partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Lightning Foundation to offer an MBA in sport and entertainment management that has resulted in internships and even full-time jobs for many students in the program.

The office will be led by senior director Michael Bloom and director Morgan Holmes. Bloom is new to USF but held a similar role at Kent State University in Ohio. Holmes, meanwhile, has a background in economic development, public affairs and tax consulting. She comes to USF from the Central Florida Development Council in Polk County.

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