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Jacksonville identifies industries ripe for growth

Downtown Jacksonville.
John Raoux
Downtown Jacksonville.

The Jax Chamber’s economic development arm has established a five-year plan focused on regional collaboration to address underemployment across seven counties: Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns. 

A consulting firm for JAX USA identified agribusiness, biomedical research and corporate operations as target industries for growth. Annie Lebesch, JAX USA’s vice president of talent development, said local schools and colleges are a primary tool for training and recruiting to these sectors. 

"It’s all about helping our residents, but also our school districts and the colleges that we work with understand where the growth is coming with these businesses, what the career pathways are within those businesses and what the opportunities are," Lebesch said.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 32,000 people moved to Northeast Florida between April 2020 and July 2021 — primarily from the Midwest, New York and Greater Washington, D.C.