Race to Place
The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce was one of the first community partners to sign on to the “RACE to PLACE” initiative. “We are proud to partner with Polk Works on this ambitious goal,” said Kathleen Munson, the Chamber’s President. “Talent Development has been one of the Chamber’s core strategies, and together with Polk Works, we plan to continue our efforts to provide our business community with skilled, qualified employees.”
||Polk County’s workforce development agency, Polk Works, has set an ambitious goal for 2013. The “RACE to PLACE” initiative aims to place 10,000 employees before June 30.
Through the Employ Florida Marketplace, employers can find local talent, and job seekers can search for opportunities. And, Polk Works has partnered with the county’s educational institutions to better prepare students for the workforce.
More information on the “RACE to PLACE” initiative is available at PolkWorks.org or by calling (863) 508-2916.
Lakeland’s top industries are manufacturing, distribution, health care and tourism. Lakeland distinguishes itself as a business friendly city with outstanding quality of life, diverse culture, available skilled workforce and low labor costs. In addition, our location along the Interstate 4 corridor between Tampa and Orlando, access to a variety of colleges and universities within our city, close proximity to ports and two international airports and the cost of doing business, make Lakeland a great place to live and work.
Lakeland’s location between Tampa and Orlando makes it an ideal location for manufacturing and distribution. The Lakeland market absorbs more than one million square feet of manufacturing/warehouse space annually, with more than 30 million square feet in the entire market
Founded in 1930, Publix Super Markets is Lakeland’s largest employer with more than 9,000 employees in Polk County. The company is privately owned and operated by its 149,500 employees, with 2010 sales of $25.1 billion. The company has consistently been named one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.”
Publix’s Lakeland facilities include numerous super markets, manufacturing facilities (bakery, dairy, deli), distribution and cold storage facilities, as well as their 320,000 square foot corporate headquarters. Publix recently broke ground on a 562,000 sf expansion of their current 550,000-square-foot warehouse off County Line Road used to store dry goods.
Each year more than 1.5 million visitors travel through Polk County, spending nearly $966 million in revenue and employing 16,000 residents. The Detroit Tigers spring training camp, located in Lakeland accounts for $33 million in revenue. Because tourism is such an important industry to Lakeland, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Lakeland and Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau work both independently and in unison on various marketing efforts to keep this industry alive and well.
A growing sector of Lakeland’s economy is health care. Major health care employers include Lakeland Regional Medical Center (the 5th largest hospital in the state of Florida, housing 851 beds), Watson Clinic (one of the state’s largest medical clinics with more 1500 employees and 200 plus doctors), Clark & Daughtrey Medical Group, and two cancer centers, the Center for Cancer Care & Research and the Lakeland Regional Cancer Center. In 2011, the Lakeland Regional Cancer Center completed a 27,000 sf expansion of their campus, with addition of 26 exam rooms, a special procedure room, cystology room and endoscopy suite will bring the total square footage to 63,755 sf.
Other major health care industry employers include, Stryker Sustainability Solutions, a medical reprocessing manufacturer, WellDyneRx, a pharmacy benefits management company and pharmaceutical distributors, McKesson and Cardinal.
Lakeland’s major employers include GEICO, GC Services, Lockheed Martin, JBT FoodTech, Carpenter Company, Marriott Vacation Club International, Saddle Creek Corporation, Summit Consulting, Flowers Foods, Pepperidge Farm, Tampa Maid Foods, Advance Discount Auto Parts, Key Safety Systems, The Ledger, Sykes, Rooms To Go, City of Lakeland, and Polk County Public Schools. Polk County’s agriculture sector continues to be a staple of our economy with more than 626,634 acres of agricultural lands, and agribusiness and food manufacturing companies that output more than $8 billion in annual sales and contribute more than 62,000 jobs to Polk’s economy
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