March 23, 2023
Targeting talent: Miami-Dade County struggles to find qualified employees

Photo: Eileen Escarda

Alma Ramirez landed a paid internship through the program.

Miami-Dade Roundup

Targeting talent: Miami-Dade County struggles to find qualified employees

PROBLEM: Miami- Dade County ranks No. 8 in the nation for the number of college students per capita. Yet one of the biggest challenges for companies in Miami-Dade County is finding qualified employees.

SOLUTION: Academic leaders in 2015 created Talent Development Network (TDN), a portal that links businesses and university students for paid internships. TDN is “sort of meets LinkedIn,” says Joe Hovancak, vice president of One Community One Goal. Funding comes from the Helios Education Foundation, the Peacock Foundation, The Miami Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co. And others.

GOAL: The goal at launch was to post 200 paid internships during TDN’s first two years; businesses signed up so fast that number was reached in eight months. Now, some 220 employers and 945 students are registered, more than 115 internships have been completed or are under way, and more than 300 paid internships have been posted, Hovancak says.

CASE HISTORY: MBA student Alma Ramirez found a paid internship at health care technology company Abeyon through Talent Development Network. After six months as a paid intern there, she found work full time at HealthTrust Workforce Solutions, part of HCA, serving as a liaison between suppliers and vendors. “One of the major things that stood out for my boss was my experience working at Abeyon,” says the 25-year-old, who is pursuing an MBA at Florida International University.

BENEFITS: Academic leaders see internships as a way for companies in the community to train and nurture talent. It’s also a way for students to put down professional roots in the community. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that 75% of paid interns later received a job, while just 44% of unpaid interns did. For employers, the TDN offers a one-stop way to reach potential interns at all of the county’s higher-education institutions, as well as Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ career academies.

Business Briefs

AVENTURA — ESG Capital plans to acquire the 18-acre Jungle Island wildlife park and attraction in Miami, assuming $28.8 million in debt and paying a lease transfer fee to Miami-Dade County. The company also sold five Florida charter schools it owned to Portland, Ore.- based Charter School Capital for $71.74 million. » Bank Hapoalim, which is based in Israel, is selling its Aventura-based private banking business to Safra National Bank of New York. Bank Hapoalim has not decided whether it will close its Aventura branch.

CORAL GABLES — Spanish-language media company Hemisphere Media Group will acquire the license to operate Colombian national broadcast television network Canal Uno, in partnership with Colombia-based Radio Television Interamericana, Compania de Medios de Informacion and NTC Nacional de Television y Communicaciones. The partnership should take over operation of the network in May.

DORAL — Carnival’s Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to felony charges of polluting the ocean and trying to cover it up. It will pay a $40-million fine — the largest ever for such charges.

MIAMI — Attendance at Art Basel held steady last year at 77,000, unchanged from 2015. Art Miami and CONTEXT attendance fell 500 to 78,500. Art Miami and CONTEXT will move from their current site in Midtown, where Art Miami has been for 10 years, to a 14-acre Biscayne Bayfront lot owned by Genting Group’s Resorts World Miami. » Cloud-based medical practice management platform Care- Cloud completed a $31.5-million round of funding that includes investments by the PNC Financial Services Group, First Data and Blue Cloud Ventures. » Real estate developer Tony Cho of Metro 1 and Silicon Valley investor Bob Zangrillo (of Dragon Global), through a partnership called Cho Dragon, announced plans for a 15-acre mixed-use innovation district development in the Little Haiti neighborhood. Magic City’s first phase will include a sculpture garden, 30,000-sq.-ft. Magic City Studios and 15,000-sq.-ft. factory innovation center. » A company headed by Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega (head of the Zara chain) purchased the 55-story, 1.2-million-sq.-ft. Southeast Financial Center office building downtown for $516.6 million in the largest real estate transaction in the county last year. » Two industrial designers broke ground in Wynwood for the Miami College of Design, which will be the state’s first accredited college solely for industrial design; it is scheduled to open next fall.

MIAMI BEACH — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud charges against Alberto Chang-Rajii, CEO of Miami Beach-based Onix Capital and Chilean company Grupo Arcano.

MONROE COUNTY — The county is examining the costs of raising roads to deal with the impact of rising sea levels.

NORTH MIAMI BEACH — CK Prive Group plans a 5. 1-acre development called Uptown 163 with three apartment towers, a hotel, offices and retail.

SOUTH FLORIDA — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises received permission from the Cuban government to sail to the island.

SOUTH MIAMI — Baptist Health South Florida will pay $12 million to settle allegations that a physician performed improper and medically unnecessary tests and procedures on patients at South Miami Hospital and submitted false claims for the procedures to Medicare and other federally funded health care programs.


Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno

In 1993, Janet Reno became the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, she was also the first attorney general in a century and a half to serve two full terms. The Miami-Dade native oversaw prosecutions related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, an antitrust suit against Microsoft and the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater dealings — which eventually expanded to include the president’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. She also oversaw the two-month siege and disastrous raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, as well as the 2000 case surrounding 6-year-old Cuban rafter Elián Gonzalez, who was eventually removed from the home of his Miami family and returned to his father in Cuba. Reno died in November at age 78 from complications of Parkinson’s disease, which was diagnosed in 1995.

Tags: Miami-Dade

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