Working Together to Bridge Talent Gaps

by: Lisa Rice, President, CareerSource Brevard

What’s a talent gap? It’s the thing that has business execs running scared.

Here’s one scenario:

A new business opportunity knocks on your door and your workforce doesn’t have the skills to meet the needs. The local talent pool with that special skillset is very thin. The proper training doesn’t exist nearby. You are now facing a TALENT GAP that may keep you from accepting the new business or delay bringing a new product line to market.

Here’s a different scenario: Understanding that your business was headed for growth or change, you contacted CareerSource Brevard early on. They called upon other experts and together forged a near-term solution for on-the-job training and a certification program is in development to handle your long-term workforce needs. That’s WORKFORCE PLANNING.

Organizations like CareerSource Brevard (workforce development experts) partner with education and training specialists, business owners/managers and economic development leaders to study regional and national workforce trends to ensure local businesses have relevant workforce planning information needed to make decisions and succeed in today’s dynamic marketplace. We also help make the case for local investment in the training programs you need.

Many articles have been written predicting or trying to solve issues within talent gaps in many advanced manufacturing segments, created in part by the increasing complexity of systems and equipment and how that is leaving many of our best existing employees behind. We know that this is one of the most important things we can address together – to support a robust and evolving economy.

To predict a need and be prepared to initiate a solution quickly requires having partnerships before you need them. This is especially true when you consider the increased time required for our educational partners to bring a new training module on line, or offer a unique certification specifically needed in our community. At CareerSource Brevard, we approach these partnerships by:

  • Opening doors to data and solutions from other workforce regions to fast-track implementation or identify innovative solutions to bridge the most pressing local talent gaps
  • Managing programs (like an AARP Foundation grant implemented by Eastern Florida State College in conjunction with CareerSource Brevard) that provide special career guidance and support to women ages 50+
  • Introducing more women to local manufacturing careers that provide rewarding, high-paying jobs while businesses fill talent gaps

There are a number of events coming up that can keep you in the know about local workforce initiatives and allow you to have a voice in where workforce training is heading for our region.

Locally, the Advanced Manufacturing Employment Now (AMEN) event is being held at 7:30 a.m. Thursday At this event, meet with CareerSource Brevard, manufacturers and community workforce partners to look at solutions to help close the talent gap now for tomorrow. (

On October 29, the Annual Regional Business Summit invites key business leaders to meet with Central Florida workforce professionals to discuss apprenticeships and certifications, securing grants for training programs, and working with young adults to excite our next generation of leaders. The Summit is held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center (

It is not easy to predict economic evolution and the resulting workforce needs. It isn’t always possible to avoid talent gaps in particular qualified skill sets. But there are steps we can all take together to become more educated and have a voice. Seek out those opportunities and help shape our area’s future. To learn more, visit

Rice is the president of CareerSource Brevard, a 501(c)3 organization providing federally mandated workforce programs in Brevard County. She holds a master’s in business administration, with a focus on strengths-based management techniques from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a masters in public administration from the University of Central Florida. If you are an employer and want to learn more about workforce services, contact [email protected] or visit,

Columnist series sponsored by weVENTURE (formerly the Women’s Business Center) powered by the Florida Institute of Technology. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne, Rockledge and Orlando. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit or call 321-674-7007.

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