Economic development and higher education leaders to launch regional talent development network

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Economic development and higher education leaders to launch
regional talent development network

MIAMI (July 23, 2014) – In response to the need to build and retain talent in South Florida, economic development leaders and higher education institutions in Miami-Dade County have united to create a regional talent development network that will provide internships to students in key industries and align academic curriculum with industry needs.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg announced the launch of the Talent Development Network on Wednesday, in collaboration with the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal (OCOG) Academic Leaders Council (ALC).

“Miami’s academic leaders fully support the region’s economic development plan and our local
industry – we are committed together to preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow,’’ said Rosenberg, who chairs the ALC. “We are blurring the lines between industry and academia with our collaborative efforts to develop the OCOG Talent Development Network.”

The Talent Development Network will provide local college students with on-the-job experience in one of OCOG’s target industries: Aviation, Creative Design, Hospitality and Tourism, International Banking and Finance, Information Technology, Life Sciences and Health Care, and Trade and Logistics.

Ignited by a $100,000 challenge grant by The Miami Foundation, the Talent Development Network has received support from numerous local companies and philanthropic groups, including the Peacock Foundation. Today, the program announced its newest investment – $100,000 from Helios Education Foundation, bringing the total raised to $260,000.

“Aligned with Helios’ commitment to ensure students have support and guidance toward high-quality post-secondary certificate and degree pathways, the OCOG Talent Development Network is positioned to become an evidence-based model for state and national replication,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of the foundation.

Beyond creating an internship culture in South Florida, the initiative seeks to address the historic disconnect between local academic institutions and economic development strategies.

FIU will lead the program in partnership with The Beacon Council and ALC’s other member institutions: Barry University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, St. Thomas University and the University of Miami.

In addition to supporting talent preparation for target industries, the Talent Development Network will positively impact at-risk populations, by providing real-life experience and networking opportunities. Studies show students who participate in internships are more likely to succeed in college, graduate on time and find employment in their first year after graduation. These positive effects are more significant for minority populations.

Using technology modules to help employers and students create successful internships, the program will place its first cohort of interns with industry partners in Summer 2015. The program will be enhanced with supportive curriculum and mentoring to create a network of leaders who are informed and engaged with their community.

“A regional effort to prepare and retain talent is critical to building our creative class and ensuring Miami is globally competitive,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, whose team was instrumental in the program’s conceptualization.  “By hardwiring them into our local professional networks, we foster our home-grown economic generators to propel this entire community forward.”

About One Community One Goal and the Academic Leaders Council:
In 2012, the Beacon Council launched the One Community One Goal Targeted Industry Study for Miami-Dade County. The effort involved more than 5,000 individuals from business, education, community organizations and foundations and resulted in the creation of the 2012-2017 OCOG Target Industry Strategic Plan. The report identified education as the foundation for economic development and noted that “the coordination of education and economic development will give the county the greatest competitive advantage.” Chaired by FIU President Rosenberg, the OCOG Academic Leaders Council was created to foster a dialogue between industry and academia to align curriculum and student preparation to better reflect industry needs and economic growth opportunities. 

About Helios Education Foundation:
Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectation, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation focuses its investments across the education continuum in three key impact areas:  Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion.  As an engaged foundation, embedded in communities across both states, the Foundation is contributing its expertise and financial resources to better prepare students for college and career and to compete successfully in a globally-competitive economy. Since 2006, Helios has invested more than $140 million in education-related programs and initiatives in Arizona and Florida. For more information about the Foundation, visit 

About FIU:
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 50,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit

Media Contact:
Amy Ellis


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