TAMPA, Fla. — On Thursday, Mayor Jane Castor said Tampa has the roadmap to a more equitable city. After forming the Economic Advisory Committee back in August, the team came together to present the data.
“Now more than ever we have a duty here within the City of Tampa to make transformational change, and that’s what we are focused on," Mayor Castor said.
The mayor assembled a diverse team made up of 25 people from across the city. They used data to figure out where Tampa excels and where it lacks.
"The first step in solving and facing challenges is knowing that we have that challenge," Economic Advisory Committee Co-Chair Moez Limayem said.
Limayem also works as the dean of USF's Muma College of Business. He said the most glaring issue is the city's "racial gap." Limayem pointed out that played a major factor in several economic indicators the team assessed.
The group honed in on four focus areas and 10 measures.
Promote Inclusive Economic Growth
- Per Capita Income
- Unemployment Rate
- Reduce Poverty
- Poverty Rate
- Transportation to Work
- Digital Access
- Commit to Racial Equity
- Racial Poverty Rate Gap
- Racial Labor Force Participation Gap
- Emphasize Educational Opportunity
- 4th/8th Grade Math Florida Standards Assessment (FSA)
- High School Graduation Rate
- Educational Attainment (Bachelor's degree and above)
The Economic Advisory Committee made about 40 recommendations after crunching the numbers.
"The good news is all of them are practical and feasible," Limayem said.
Some of the recommendations have already been implemented through a series of initiatives. For example, the city installed "tech hubs" at rec centers to provide internet access for students in underserved areas and shorten the digital divide.
Other initiatives include a year-round youth employment program through a partnership with CareerSource Tampa Bay. 50 teens and young adults would receive job opportunities through the city's Parks and Rec. Mayor Castor also mentioned the formal establishment of the Mayor's Workforce Council that will influence strategies
for a pipeline to support and grow Tampa's economy.
To read the entire report from the Economic Advisory Committee, click here.