Miami business chamber’s economic summit forecasts post-pandemic changes

·2 min read

Local business and government leaders must continue to work toward enhancing skills training for local talent to realize Miami’s economic potential beyond the pandemic, participants in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s annual economic summit said Thursday.

In a discussion moderated by Maria C. Alonso, president and CEO of United Way of Miami-Dade, panelists Madeline Pumariega, president of Miami Dade College; Laura Gaviria Halaby, operation group director of SoftBank International Group; and Susan Amat, executive director for GEN Accelerates at the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said employers continue to emphasize credential-based programs. Pumariega explained that “stackable credentials” — certifying competency in specific skills — are key to creating stable career pathways for Miami workers once COVID-19 subsides.

Amat said that holds true as well for Miami’s small and medium-sized businesses, which continue to serve as the backbone of the local economy.

Investing resources in upskilling and credentialing would help realize Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s vision of “an inclusive, collaborative, equitable economy,” Alonso said. It’s a vision Levine Cava is enacting in part through her RENEW305 economic initiative, which stands for Revive, Explore, Network, Economic partnership and Workforce.

Also in the Thursday program, a panel moderated by S. Shane Caldwell III, vice president for business development and strategy at Fiserv, explored the pandemic’s impact on consumers, particularly the remote-working practice that changed preferences for fashion, appliances and dining.

Panelists included Jason Jenkins, senior vice president of communications and community affairs for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium; Leslie Nixon, senior director of community affairs for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium; Leslie Pearce, senior vice president for small and medium-sized business inside sales at Fiserv; and Neil Wilcox, head of corporate social responsibility at Fiserv.

On Wednesday, Chamber President and CEO Alfred Sanchez wrote in his April members’ letter that its GMCC Cares initiative, which provides small business members one-to-one assistance when applying for various governmental relief programs, had supported over 115 businesses that had received approved loans.

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