16 counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Franklin
Target Industries: Aerospace and Defense (BRAC growth), Construction (housing needs), Health Care
Florida's Great Northwest WIRED Initiative focuses on creating high wage, high skill jobs in Aerospace and Defense, Life Sciences, Information Technology and Electronics Engineering and Construction Services. Florida's Great Northwest has developed a governance council and industry council for each of the targeted industries. Each council incorporates membership from the regional partners, including businesses, which represent at least 50 percent of the councils' membership.
Florida's Great Northwest WIRED strategy includes:
- Entrepreneurship development through a grant program designed to enable start-up companies to secure seed capital;
- Grants enabling job training for new and existing businesses within the target industries;
- Secondary education academy development that is:
1. geared for skills related to entry-level employment in targeted industries
2. accelerated, intense college preparation in the areas of math and science
- Post-secondary training and education programs that develop workforce skills needed by the target industries;
- Outreach programs to attract sufficient quantities of students of all ages into the skills training programs to meet workforce demands; and
- A strategic development component designed to ensure the workforce investment programs are developing the skills necessary to meet current and future target industry needs
The initiative is primarily established as a performance-based grant program that requires a 100 percent match. Incorporated into the initiative are guidelines that enhance the long-term sustainability of the program, establish a minimum wage and benefit structure for which job creation assistance will be provided, and incorporate the workforce investment boards and their associated one-stop workforce development centers into the initiative governance and program delivery.