Where do we begin...
Leonard Costin reportedly commented the other day that residents wanted companies like the St. Joe Paper Mill to come to the Port of Port St. Joe and Gulf County. That seems to be the consensus of the GOBs and other established residents. That is what Barry Sellers eventually concluded. Tam Smiley said, "Uncle Joe is not coming back." However, that may not be true.
When you look at history, and the current employment market, you discover that Gulf County has the same quality workforce that it did when the St. Joe Paper Mill was operating in 1994. Today, almost 20 percent of the non-tech-driven manufacturing companies in the U.S. are looking for a circa 1994 low-wage, low-skilled, industrial workforce. This could be a way around Gulf County's portended bankruptcy in 2014.
How to we proceed...
Gulf County workforce's unique properties can be presented to employers across the U.S. who are being regulated-out of their home communities and are desperate for near-term relocation options. Yesterday's media is Gulf County's communication link of choice -- newspapers.
Placing ads in the appropriate business sections of top MSA newspapers for three consecutive Sundays, followed by three every other Sunday, should generate enough relocation prospects to provide immediate relocations and jobs without disturbing the Gulf County community's socio-economic status-quo. The best choices to introduce Gulf County to large numbers of relocation prospects are: The Sunday New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Boston Globe.
The "truth" is...
There are very few low-wage, low-skilled, industrial workforces like Gulf County's available in the USA today. So, Gulf County will have to document the County workforce in terms prospective employers will accept. Gulf County can do that.
The evidence --
1) Gulf County has an exceptionally stable political atmosphere, thanks to Florida's Home Rule.
Gulf County's governance is dysfunctional, duplicitous and dystopian. The Video of the BOCC's 4/8/2014 meeting is evidence enough of Gulf County's political fratricide. Plus, the County's competing political entities don't collaborate or cooperate so nothing gets done and nothing changes. Gulf County political leadership is susceptible to private-sector guidance that will support traditional nepotism in the public sector.
2) Members of Gulf County's workforce have very low work-life expectations and workers are willing to suffer in silence and toil in pain.
Gulf County School District has one of the highest percentages of high school graduates in Florida (96 percent). GCSD students invest 12 years of their lives to graduate from a school district that offers the poorest preparation for post-secondary education in Florida. GCSD graduates the highest percentage of students who are unfit for military service in Florida. Less than 5 percent of Gulf County high school graduates score in the top 25 percent of U.S. students (ACT=24+). GCSD graduates' scholastic achievement based on National Tests rank GCSD in the bottom 1 percent of U.S. school districts.
3) There are no competing employers for Gulf County's low-wage, low-skilled workers.
Over 70 percent of Gulf County's workforce lack a military-acceptable high school diploma. Members of Gulf County's resident workforce have no interest in upgrading their skill-sets, as Eastern Shipbuilding can testify.
4) Taxpayers of Gulf County will financially support low-wage companies that employ local residents.
Gulf County is a Christian community. Residents and workers are waiting for Rapture and have no interest in investing in their children's or community's future. Residents of Gulf County like to see, taste and smell their local businesses. It tells them the jobs are still there.
These considerations should attract circa 1994 industrial companies and their jobs to Gulf County.
John Comer, DD
Church of Our Founding Fathers
Port St. Joe