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Working together for a better Florida

This month, participants in the Florida Chamber Foundation's Six Pillars Caucus System will meet at the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College. As president of the college, I couldn't be more excited about what is taking place within this state-of-the-art facility to secure the future of Florida.

Launched in 2009, the Six Pillars Caucus System is a qualitative research program that is engaging the best and brightest minds in the state to develop a plan for Florida's future economy. Known as Project 2030, the guiding vision points the state toward high-wage jobs, global competitiveness and vibrant communities. This year the Caucus System is refining the goals and strategies that have been developed to focus on specific measures of accountability and to track progress along what is the first-ever statewide strategic plan.

Participants in the Caucus System make up a state-wide process designed to glean input and expertise in each of the Six Pillars that form the common framework for deliberation: (1) talent supply and education, (2) innovation and economic development, (3) infrastructure and growth leadership, (4) business climate and competitiveness, (5) civic and governance systems and (6) quality of life and quality places.

A parallel effort is on track to engage more than 42 counties by the close of the year in the process of becoming a Six Pillars Community. A Six Pillars Community represents the completion of a comprehensive strategic plan based on the Six Pillars framework at either the county or regional level.

This two-layered approach, formed by the Six Pillars Caucus System and the Six Pillars Communities, serves to continuously feed Project 2030 with local input. Along with the transparency provided by the Florida Scorecard (, Project 2030 promises to be an enduring, living document with a long-term vision, a common agenda, shared resources and an obsession with measurement.

The ultimate success of Project 2030 will be its ability to identify solutions to the issues facing Florida that have escaped open, data-driven discussions in the past. Along the way, the foundation seeks to honor the uniqueness of their local and regional stakeholders, while embracing the differing views and the commitment to civil discourse that will occur along the way.

This unprecedented program harnesses the ideas of those who have a vested interest in the future of Florida. We can all contribute: both natives and those of us who decided to make Florida our home; those of us who are raising our children here; those of us who want to start or expand businesses here; and those of us who want to see Florida leading the nation in job growth while preserving its uniqueness among the states.

The Collaborative Labs was selected to facilitate this critical juncture of Project 2030 having been recognized as providing a dynamic and collaborative meeting environment that is specifically designed to help organizations, such as the Florida Chamber Foundation, achieve breakthrough results. Our 10,000-square-foot facility is uniquely designed and equipped to foster dynamic interaction and spur creativity needed for the Caucus System. In each Collaborative Labs facilitation, participants are focused on resource strengths, stakeholder engagement and accelerated results.

Florida is at a critical time in its history. St. Petersburg College is committed to working on a sustainable future for all of us. As a college president, I have been a stakeholder in the Florida Chamber Foundation for many years and strongly believe in the power of the Six Pillars framework. Through a strategic partnership with local resources such as the Collaborative Labs here at St. Petersburg College, the Florida Chamber Foundation is enabling communities across the state with an opportunity to develop their strategic plans, while incorporating their regional and local contributions into the statewide plan. St. Petersburg College is pleased to be at the center of it all as a resource for communities ready to build solutions collaboratively.

Bill Law is president of St. Petersburg College, sits on the board of trustees for the Florida Chamber Foundation and is involved in the Talent Supply and Education Caucus of the Six Pillars Caucus System.

Working together for a better Florida 07/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 4, 2011 11:57am]
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