EDC’s Bid for More Skilled Workers Bodes Well for Home Market


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, December 18, 2018 – There’s reason to expect that housing demand in Sarasota would increase next year, as the county’s Economic Development Council (EDC) recently announced that, aside from attracting business locators, it will focus on attracting more professionals or skilled workers to the county.

With this move, the EDC seeks to fill the perceived wide gaps between the local professional workforce available and the talent needs of the county’s business community. The council noted that occupational gaps exist in almost all types of Sarasota employers—from manufacturers and financial services to healthcare providers.

What Sarasota’s Economy Needs

The projected gap, for example, between the needed professionals in Sarasota’s management services sector and available local talents is about 127 managerial positions annually over the next 10 years. In the business and financial services sector, the occupational gap projection is 104 jobs annually. This gap is seen at 42 annually for computer and math occupations.

The EDC noted that these occupational gaps are in industry types that diversify Sarasota’s economy. If unfilled, the gaps could lead to missed opportunities and constrain economic growth of the county, the council said.

To address this potential growth debacle, the EDC is launching a workforce initiative amongst its marketing efforts for Sarasota. Its marketing plan to draw skilled workers or professionals to fill occupation gaps could likewise serve as an opportunity to present the merits of Sarasota real estate properties. This is possible, given that the council’s initiative includes video testimonials of local talent not only extolling the county’s work opportunities but also highlighting the quality of life in Sarasota.

Sound Marketing Platforms

The EDC’s advocacy for Sarasota next year, furthermore, has a sound platform in the April 2018 opening of the spring training facility of the Atlanta Braves in North Port. This would be in addition to the long-standing tie-up of the council with the Baltimore business community via the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp in Sarasota.

Contributions in growing Sarasota’s market presence could also be drawn from additional flights being added at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). Allegiant Air, which joined the seven other SRQ carriers this year, is adding nine new flights via SRQ in 2019. These routes include twice-weekly nonstop flights beginning February to Asheville, North Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland.

In April, Allegiant will open its SRQ services for direct flights twice a week to Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Syracuse, New York; Richmond, Virginia; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Nashville, Tennessee. These nine new routes alone would bring an additional 160,000 passengers to SRQ in 2019. Since April 2018, Allegiant has been operating direct flights from Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.

Since Allegiant’s April SRQ entry, other airlines have either launched new routes or expanded their services at the local airport. Frontier Airlines, a low-cost carrier similar to Allegiant, started in December its nonstop flights to Atlanta, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

American Airlines, a mainstay carrier in the local airport, is also adding three routes: Dallas and Chicago in December, and Philadelphia in January 2019. Seasonal SRQ flights to New York, Detroit, and Boston are likewise set by Delta. United too is enhancing its SRQ services to Newark, New Jersey. All in all, the eight SRQ carriers now connect the Sarasota region to 26 cities, all potent links that should help set local real estate and the EDC marketing plan to a good start for 2019.