Employers, healthcare professionals and countless hard-working citizens across the Sunshine State are dedicating their time and talents to supporting our communities and getting our state back on track.
As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses, closed schools and forced thousands of Florida communities to conduct daily life from the confines of their homes, we gained a new lens into the profound importance of staying connected while isolated from our jobs, schools and loved ones.
At the onset of the pandemic, nearly 90 percent of U.S. adults said the internet had been important for them during the outbreak, with 53% who called the technology service “essential.”
Recognizing the integral role technology plays in our day-to-day lives and in the success of our state, we must continue to bolster innovation in our technology sector to maintain Florida’s standing as a leader in business and economic development.
Nearly 70 percent of Florida’s small businesses increased their use of digital tools during the pandemic. With the competitive edge that these digital tools provide for businesses, this figure will undoubtedly increase as our society becomes more reliant on these tools to grow business opportunities and attract investment. More than half of Florida’s small businesses have already stated their plans to use more digital tools in the post-COVID-19 era.
Technology’s positive role in Florida’s businesses is undeniable, bolstering our state and local economy and providing new jobs in a swiftly growing field. Florida’s technology sector has had an estimated $77.7 billion economic impact on the state economy and a $12.4 billion economic impact in Orlando alone, creating sizable growth that benefits every community.
Our technology sector is a key driver of our state’s overall economic prosperity and provides new, innovative opportunities for our workforce. Florida’s technology industry currently employs more than 595,000 individuals, with 16,000 new technology jobs already slated to be added in 2021. Orlando saw 19,000 tech related jobs added to the local economy from 2010-2019 with tech occupation employment projected to grow by more than 13% by 2026.
These jobs in the technology sector not only support the state’s overall economic health but provide a promising standard of living for Floridians – creating the opportunity for more upward mobility and pathways for success. For example, the average salary for a high-tech job in Orlando is $83,800, compared to the city’s average yearly salary of $46,140, and tech salaries in Orlando are among the fastest growing in the nation.
The economic benefits for our state are endless if we continue to invest in technological innovation and work to incentivize Floridians to participate in this growing workforce. Technology has been a lifeline during the pandemic, giving businesses the opportunity to connect with customers remotely and allowing employers to keep their doors open and staff employed.
Technological innovation is a key that unlocks success and prosperity for everyone, and our state’s elected officials must continue to prioritize smart policies that will bolster our tech sector to create a better, more prosperous future for all Floridians.
Al Stimac is the President of Machining Training Solutions and Founder of Metal Essence, Inc.