Leon County expands skilled career workforce with annual Leon Works Expo

More than 700 high school students showed up for the Leon Works Expo last weekend.
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Special to the Outlook

The Leon Works Expo, hosted by Leon County Government and the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality, returned in person, connecting more than 700 high school students with academic institutions, private businesses, non-profit agencies, and public sector partners with emerging skilled career opportunities.

“Skilled careers are absolutely vital to the continued economic growth of Leon County and our surrounding communities,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Bill Proctor. “We are extremely proud to help students from across the region find a career they are passionate about and to connect local employers with their future workforce.”

 Hundreds of high school juniors and seniors from Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Madison, and Liberty counties arrived early and engaged with more than 100 exhibitors. They provided insight on their industry, organization and what makes their jobs rewarding.

“Leon Works has been a driving force to bridge the anticipated gap in skilled career opportunities in future years,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “We know that by 2026, more than 70,000 skilled jobs will become available. This year’s Expo only further demonstrates the County’s commitment to meeting our community’s need for skilled workers by facilitating economic opportunity and youth development.”

Students explored different professions, including health, business, information technology, creative and trade. By gaining more information from local employers and academic institutions on internships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities, students could make plans for their future and define their success.

“Talent lives here, and our economy is thriving as new industries take root,” Mayor John Dailey said. “To remain a competitive, sustainable economic hub, it’s vital that we help the next generation get excited about the many possibilities available locally, which is why the City of Tallahassee is proud to be a partner in Leon Works.”

Leon County recognizes that the key to a strong community is equipping citizens with the skills necessary to compete in a growing and changing skilled job market. The Leon Works Expo builds on the County’s continued efforts to develop and sustain a rich local economy filled with the best and brightest workers who choose to define their success.

  “Through this event, our young people are given the opportunity to see themselves in careers they may not have known about,” said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “I know this experience was tremendously valuable for our high school students as they think about their next steps and overall future.”

Leon County Government and the Office of Economic Vitality hosted the Leon Works Expo in collaboration with community partners, such as Leon County Schools, Lively Technical College, the Florida Department of Education, the City of Tallahassee, Tallahassee Community College, CareerSource Capital Region, Keiser University, World Class Schools, Gadsden Technical College, the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, Capital City Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

“The Leon Works Expo is just one of the many ways the Office of Economic Vitality is working to build our talent pipeline,” said OEV Director Cristina Paredes. “We’re thrilled to be in the seventh year of this event to ensure local students, our future workforce are aware of the expanding career opportunities in the Big Bend Region.”  

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