Beacon Council Job Creation Success 7412 New Jobs
By Candice Ventra
The Beacon Council helped create 7,412 new jobs in Miami-Dade County over the past 12 months, the council announced at its annual meeting last week.
More than 4,600 of the jobs were direct and 2,700 indirect, the council said.
Looking to the future, council officials say they will continue to address Miami-Dade County’s unemployment rate, which still remains far higher than the state average.
Frank Nero, president & CEO of the Beacon Council, the county’s economic development arm, hailed the results.
"There is no doubt this has been a successful year for the Beacon Council," Mr. Nero said. "Every job created this year has provided families with the means with which to prosper."
The new jobs a result of 28 Beacon Council projects translate into more than $231 million in new capital investment for the county.
Over the past year council members helped to lure several companies to the county, including clothing manufacturer Gap Inc., Porsche Latin America and Volkswagen Group Latin America, Mr. Nero said.
Seventeen of the council’s business expansions, he said, were in enterprise zones areas deemed under-served by the county. And seventeen were expansions into the empowerment zone, a blighted area designated by the federal government. Some overlapped into both.
Seven of the 28 projects were information technology related, including expansions by Spain-based Telefonica International and Boston-based Digitas, Mr. Nero said.
Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas commended the organization.
"Miami-Dade County’s economy continues to grow," Mr. Penelas said. "Part of the credit goes to the Beacon Council."
He urged the business community to continue to focus on making Miami a center for high technology and improving the quality of Miami International Airport.
"Our airport is competing in a new global marketplace," Mr. Penelas said. "It’s a fierce marketplace. We need to operate the airport more like a business."
Miami International Airport represents $13 billion in the local economic engine, he said. The airport, he said, is responsible for 198,000 local jobs. By 2010, he said, its economic swat will be up to $19 billion after creating 85,000 more jobs.
If the quality of the airport is diminished, he said, so will the number of jobs and the local economy. He urged Beacon Council officials to continue to support his push to create an aviation authority to run Miami International Airport, now overseen by the county commission.
Although thousands of jobs have been created in the county through efforts by the Beacon Council and entities such as Enterprise Florida and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s One Community One Goal, a large gap still remains between Miami’s unemployment rate and that found in the rest of the state.
This summer the county’s unemployment was 5.2%, down from last summer’s 5.5%, said Clyde Diao, an economist for the Florida Office of Labor & Employment Security. Florida’s unemployment rate statewide was 3.9% during the summer, he said.
Beacon Council members said they plan significant strides from the council’s Miami-Dade 2000 ad campaign. The $9 million, three-year campaign will aggressively market Miami as a business destination, targeting businesses in the US, Latin America and Europe.
The Beacon Council will form a partnership with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau for the project.