Partner Perspectives

Adrienne Johnston, President & CEO
CareerSource Florida

What is the mission/purpose of CareerSource Florida?

Working to put all Floridians on a path to self-sufficiency is more than a moral imperative; it is a strategic investment in Florida’s future. At CareerSource Florida, we equip local workforce development boards with policy guidance and resources so they can support businesses and job seekers on a journey toward economic empowerment. As directed by our business-led Board of Directors appointed by the governor, we work in partnership with the state agencies, businesses, and educational institutions that make up Florida’s workforce development system. By always seeking to bring more transparency, consistency, and accountability to the system, our work becomes more efficient and effective.

CareerSource Florida is an integral part of the state’s larger workforce network, collaborating with local, state, and federal partners, including FloridaCommerce and local workforce development boards across the state to address barriers to employment and support businesses.

Although we are just one component of Florida’s workforce network, our impact is significant. We facilitate access to education, training, and meaningful employment for job seekers, while also aiding businesses in finding, developing, and retaining skilled employees. By identifying and promoting in-demand career pathways, facilitating training and certification, and fostering partnerships, we strive to create a robust and thriving workforce that benefits both individuals and businesses across the state.

What skills and education are Florida employers most looking for in today’s jobseekers?

In today’s dynamic job market, Florida employers are increasingly seeking candidates who possess a blend of technical, job-related skills and essential or “soft skills.” Employers prioritize candidates who demonstrate strong communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability skills. The CareerSource Florida network can provide training for these skills, in addition to resume writing, interview prep, and more.

There is an increasing emphasis on short-term credentials, vocational training, and work-based learning. While specific education requirements vary across industries, candidates with relevant certifications, vocational training, or degrees in fields aligned with in-demand industries tend to stand out. Continuous learning and upskilling remain essential in staying competitive and meeting the evolving needs of Florida’s job market.

With regard to industries in need of talent, what should Florida students keep in mind as they make decisions about postsecondary education options?

In considering postsecondary education options, Florida students should pay close attention to industries experiencing growth and in need of talent. Emerging sectors such as semiconductors, broadband, information technology, aviation and aerospace, healthcare, financial services, logistics distribution, and advanced manufacturing offer promising career opportunities.

A great resource to identify in-demand credentials in key industries is Florida’s Master Credentials List.

The Master Credentials List is a comprehensive roster of state-approved degree and  non-degree credentials that prepare Floridians for in-demand occupations. The list serves as a public and transparent inventory of state-approved credentials of value within the current and future job market.  As new credentials that meet labor market needs are added at multiple opportunities during the year, the list will continue to evolve. 

In February 2024, our Board of Directors approved the 2024-2025 Mater Credentials List. To review the comprehensive list, visit careersourceflorida.com.

Why should individuals still in or transitioning from secondary or postsecondary education connect with their local CareerSource Florida office?

Connecting with the CareerSource Florida network provides individuals with invaluable resources and support as they navigate their educational and career journeys. Whether still in secondary education or transitioning from postsecondary education, the CareerSource Florida network offers a range of services tailored to help individuals achieve their professional goals.

From career counseling and skills assessment to job search assistance and resume building, our local career centers provide personalized guidance to match individuals with opportunities aligned with their interests, skills, and aspirations.

Additionally, CareerSource Florida collaborates with local employers to identify in-demand skills and job openings, offering access to a wide network of potential employers. Many boards affiliated with CareerSource Florida can even help find OJT or internship opportunities. By leveraging the resources and expertise available through CareerSource Florida, individuals can enhance their career prospects and make informed decisions about their future.

Adrienne Johnston was appointed as President and CEO of CareerSource Florida in February 2023. CareerSource Florida is driven by a business-led Board of Directors appointed by the Governor, to guide workforce development policy and services. Johnston leads efforts to ensure the CareerSource Florida network anticipates and responds to the needs of businesses and job seekers throughout Florida.

To date, her achievements in this role include increased collaboration within the state workforce system and implementation of REACH Act priorities, such as the Credentials Review Committee, Master Credentials List, and Florida Workforce System Transformation Plan. With extensive experience in workforce services and applied research, Johnston takes a strategic approach to helping Florida become the global leader for talent. Her most recent leadership positions include serving as deputy secretary of Workforce Services and chief economist for FloridaCommerce. She holds a master’s degree in economics from Florida State University.

Learn More about
The Able Trust
Youth Programs

High School High Tech (HSHT) provides high school students with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to in-demand careers. HSHT links youth to a broad range of academic, career development and experiential resources and experiences that will enable them to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Futures in Focus is intended to support students from grades 6 to 12 (aged 12-22) who have a disability documented by an IEP or 504 Plan. 

  • Improve participation in education and vocational-related activities leading to increased employment opportunities for middle/high school students with disabilities.
  • Connect students to resources that assist them with education and employment pursuits, such as Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • Increase enrollment in postsecondary education/training.

Additional Partner Perspectives

Dennis Hartin
Benefits and Risk Advisor HUB International

Dennis started his insurance career in 1994 and was quickly moved up the ranks with a national carrier, serving at every level. Born in KY and relocating to Tampa in 2014 with his wife and two boys he managed a sales team of 700+ and asset base of over $100 Million.

He founded Hartin Dynamics in Jan if 2018 doing anything necessary to help his clients attract and retain the best talent. He exited to HUB international in Oct 2022 to join the 5th largest brokerage firm in the world covering all risk, compliance and benefits needs. He has recently been written up in Benefits Pro Magazine along with multiple national speaking engagements based on his unique approach to benefits and employee engagement. He is one of the few transparent advisors helping duplicate proven solutions to lower costs and improve care. He is a contributor to a Amazon bestseller for sales and marketing called “Winning Sales Attitudes” and his latest book “25 Changemakers in Florida” launched in March 2021. Dennis is the Co-founder of the Emotional Vaccines® program working to educate and create a public health policy around prevention in the growing mental health crisis.

Dennis has a unique passion for helping others and serves in multiple board roles for Neuro Shifts, Keystone Prep High School, HR Tampa, Tampa Bay NABIP, Secured Finance, Empowered HR and The National Center for Performance Health addressing the growing mental health concerns in America.

Mary Chance, President/CEO
Florida Consortium of Education Foundations

Mary Chance has served as president of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations since 2008 after serving as the executive director of the Alachua County education foundation for ten years, diversifying the scope of work for that foundation significantly and increasing annual revenue from $100,000 to $1.2 million.

The President is the senior-most position in the Consortium and reports directly to the board of directors. Primary responsibilities include supervising board development, public affairs, partnership and resource development, program and administrative activities, and overseeing compliance with all local and state regulations regarding the organization.

Click the button below to learn  about trends in postsecondary education and opportunities for students. Mary also describes some of the challenges facing students in Florida and how education foundations are helping resolve these problems.