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Regional Economic Research Institute

Workforce Now: A Regional Research Initiative

RERI is a partner in Workforce Now, a regional research initiative to identify current and future talent requirements for the five counties of Southwest Florida. The initiative was created in October 2012 as an outcome of the Education Summits produced by The News-Press Media Group. It is envisioned as a systematic, strategic multi-year focus on understanding and meeting critical workforce needs.

Workforce Now is a unique regional collaborate workforce research effort between FGCU, Florida SouthWestern State College, and Hodges University.

The research effort was conducted by Dr. Chris Westley of FGCU, Dr. John Meyer, Dean of the School of Business and Technology at Florida SouthWestern State College, and Dr. Aysegul Timur, Dean of the Johnson School of Business at Hodges University.

A special thanks to Sarah Owen, President and President and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. These projects and reports would not be possible without the assistance of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the generous support of the founding Workforce Now investors:

  • The News-Press Media Group
  • Partnership for Collier's Future Economy - Opportunity Naples
  • The Lee County Industrial Development Authority
  • The Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board
  • Arthrex, Inc.
  • Busey Bank
  • Chico's FAS, Inc.
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida SouthWestern State College
  • Hodges University
  • Manhattan Construction

Workforce Now Reports (beginning with most recent report)

Workforce Overview Study: 2016
December 2016 pdf (36 pages)
This is the fourth annual Southwest Florida workforce overview study providing key information about industries, occupations, employment gaps, and projected job growth. The study is divided into three major sections:

  • Historic, current, and projected employment by industry
  • Employment gaps by occupation as of Summer 2016
  • Projected employment demand by occupation
The study began in the middle of October 2016 and was completed by the end of that year.

Workforce Overview Study: 2015
May 2016 pdf (66 pages)
This report is an annual overview of the Southwest Florida labor market that identifies the mix of industries, the industry growth trends, current employment gaps, and the average annual projected demand for regional occupations through 2022.

IT Employment in Southwest Florida: Opportunities and Challenges
October 2014 pdf (45 pages)
This study examines information technology related fields; the education, certification, and experience required for employment - as well as the employment outlook - in those fields; and prospective positions resulting from emerging technologies. The study covers employers in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendy, and Lee Counties. It clusters employers into four groups ranging from 1-5 to greater than 500.

Workforce Overview Study: 2014
October 2014 pdf (71 pages)
This report is the 2014 overview of the Southwest Florida labor market, updating the information presented in the 2013 document.

Workforce Overview Study: 2013
October 2013 pdf (78 pages)
This study identifies the mix of industries, the industry growth trends, occupational mix, current employment gaps, and the average annual projected demand for regional occupations through the year 2020.

Key Stakeholders Interviews: Educational Institutions
September 2013 pdf (35 pages)
In this third study of the Workforce Now initiatives, the study team conducted interviews with key stakeholders from public and private educational institutions representing universities, colleges, technical schools, and K-12 school systems in the region.

Identification of Critical Position and Skill Gaps for: Financial/Insurance/Banking; Construction/Manufacturing; and Tourism/Hospitality
May 14, 2013 pdf (80 pages)
This report is the second in the Workforce Now series. It is a review of firms in three key business sectors. Thirteen firms volunteered their time to assist the research team in identifying their workforce gaps and skill requirements.

Three Major Employers in SW Florida: Identification of Critical Position / Skill Gaps
April 5, 2013 pdf (96 pages)
For this first report, three major employers in Southwest Florida were interviewed to better understand their critical employment gaps and help identify skill sets needed for those positions. The report is an analysis of information gained from a survey and interviews of those employers.


FGCU 2017. This is an official FGCU web page.
Florida Gulf Coast University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.