Economic opportunity, workforce training tops list of 2021 legislative priorities
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
The start of the 2021 Florida legislative session is quickly approaching, and legislative watchers can expect a jam-packed 60 days.
Session officially begins on Tuesday, March 2 and runs through Friday, April 30. While lawmakers have been in Tallahassee off-and-on over the past few months for committee hearings, March 2 will mark the first time legislators have been fully gathered as a lawmaking body since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Look for lawmakers to tackle a variety of issues impacting businesses during the two month period, including several issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One measure quickly moving through the Legislature: A bill to create COVID-19 liability protections for businesses.
The House bill has cleared all of it’s necessary committee stops, and is teed up for a vote of the full House in the coming weeks. House Speaker Chris Sprowls has indicated he would like to have the bill approved by the House and sent to the Senate within the first week. A similar Senate bill has been approved by the first of three Senate committees.
The Greater Naples Chamber supports legislation to provide liability protections to businesses and other organizations for damages related to COVID-19. Here’s where we stand on a variety of topics expected to be front and center during the next two months.
WHERE WE STAND
For more information about the Greater Naples Chamber’s 2021 legislative priorities or to learn more about you can get involved, contact Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, the Chamber’s director of government relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK-BASED LEARNING
While educating employers about hiring interns, we typically hear the hesitation in their voices but soon after they hire their first intern, we receive fantastic testimonials like the one from Jenny Gazella.
"When first approached by the Greater Naples Chamber and learning about the NAF Academies internships provided by Collier County Public Schools, I was leery. Did I have time to spend teaching someone the business only to have it be someone who only worked 150 hours?
After meeting with Alex Breault at the Chamber, I decided it couldn’t hurt to at least post an opportunity. I was amazed how fast I had applications and not just that but how professional the students applying were. We ended up hiring Ashley. Ashley is an amazing young woman with big aspirations in the Bio-Chemical field. Nothing related to tourism, however, during her interview she was honest and really looking to better herself all-around. She mentioned how she never thought she would be applying for a position like this but wanted to grow her customer service skills to be able to work with others in her community and learn about handling day to day in-person situations.
We decided to give Ashley a try and I am so happy we did for so many reasons. First, I saw Ashley grow and become more confident in herself as a person and in the position. She was timid at first with the phones and speaking face to face with customers and now she is a natural. Second, Ashley started during a very difficult time for all businesses, in the middle of COVID. She was a great candidate even without the school program but having the program pay for her 150 hours truly helped the business during a difficult time. Third, both Ashley and I felt she was a great asset to the company and after she completed her internship hours we have now employed her. There is not one thing I would change about this amazing opportunity and I am grateful to the Chamber and Collier County Public Schools for all that they do to help students become apart of our community. " -Jenny Gezella, President, Naples Princess
The Collier County Public Schools has grant money available for a limited time only to pay an intern to work for your organization. ($10 an hour for up to 180 hours) To learn more about this opportunity and how an intern can benefit your organization too, contact Alex Breault.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR, ASHLEIGH DROZ, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF INTERNSHIPS & COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS, FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY