Economic development, higher education leaders launch talent development network

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).

Helios Education Foundation presents a check for $100,000 to FIU and the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal partnership in support of the newly launched internships initiative, Talent Development Council.

Helios Education Foundation presents a check for $100,000 to FIU and the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal partnership in support of the newly launched internships initiative, Talent Development Network.

“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. 

“We are working together in an unprecedented way to prepare and retain tomorrow’s young professionals to strengthen and diversify South Florida’s workforce,’’ said Irma Becerra-Fernandez, FIU’s vice president for the Office of Engagement.

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.”

To learn more about the Talent Development Network or become involved, contact the Office of Engagement at (305) 348-7752 or