Make us your home page
Instagram

Small business owners within different industries cite problems finding good help

TAMPA — What's the biggest gripe of small businesses trying to grow during this feeble recovery?

Too much regulation and lack of financing are still cited as perennial obstacles to growth.

But if a small business forum here this week is any indication, a third concern hovers toward the top of the list: Despite unemployment pushing 9 percent, it's still too hard to find good help.

"We're in manufacturing … and that's probably the No 1 problem we have is finding qualified people," Andy Malcolm, president of Clearwater-based surge protector maker Advanced Protection Technologies, said during a panel discussion kicking off the two-day Small Business Leadership Forum.

"Let me be clear: We have a problem," said fellow panelist Deborah Duffey, president of Dermazone Solutions, a St. Petersburg company that uses nanotechnologies to make natural skin care products work faster and smarter.

In addition to seeking graduates of St. Petersburg College, Eckerd College and other universities with limited success, Duffey also tried "importing" people from other states, but the area's poor reputation in public education dissuaded recruits. She urged more government training funds, particularly oriented toward science-based jobs.

For Harold Boyett, who runs a same-day delivery service based in Jacksonville called Blue Streak Couriers, soliciting job applicants online isn't the problem. He's frustrated that so many of them fail to subsequently show up for their scheduled interviews.

"Some just checked off a box" to show they're trying to find a job as a prerequisite to receiving unemployment insurance, Boyett said to a large round of applause. His suggestion: cut off unemployment benefits sooner to motivate job seekers.

Florida already has one of the lowest unemployment benefits, with a maximum payout of $275 a week, and the state has cut the length of benefits to between 12 weeks and 23 weeks. Florida also is currently considered the toughest state to receive unemployment aid, with only 49 percent of applicants deemed eligible compared to 71 percent nationwide, according to a recent analysis.

The forum, co-organized by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Jim Moran Institute within Florida State University's College of Business, drew nearly 200 small business entrepreneurs, economic development advisers and university reps to the Westin Harbor Island.

Among industries represented are manufacturing, construction, hospitality, leisure, financial services, professional services and life sciences.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]

Small business owners within different industries cite problems finding good help 09/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]