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April 14th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 14, 2020

Escambia County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program Announced Escambia County and the City of Pensacola, in partnership with the UWF Small Business Development Center, FloridaWest EDA and the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce have created the Escambia County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. The grant is intended to assist for-profit businesses located in…

April 13th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 13, 2020

Escambia County, City of Pensacola to Receive Federal Housing Funds As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed by Congress and signed into law March 27, 2020 by President Donald J. Trump, the local community will receive a combined total of $1,325,041 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the…

Greater Pensacola Chamber Partners with BRACE and Hillcrest Baptist Church to Offer Continuous Drop Off Site for Medical Supply Donations

By Sara Lefevers | April 10, 2020

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is excited to be partnering with BRACE (Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies) and Hillcrest Baptist Church to offer a continuous site for medical supply donations. Donations can be made from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday at both Hillcrest Baptist Church Campuses (800 E Nine Mile Rd, Pensacola, FL 32514 or 3960…

April 9th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 9, 2020

Take the Coronavirus Business Impact Survey Take the Coronavirus Business Impact Survey to help our business organizations collect the data we need to assist you when recovery begins.  Take the survey here. Connex Florida Accelerates Critical Connections Between Florida Manufacturers & Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic Greater Pensacola Chamber member Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) in…

April 8th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 8, 2020

Triumph Gulf Coast Gives Initial Approval for $1 Million Fund to Train Workers The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors gave their initial approval to allocate $1 million to CareerSource Florida to establish job training in the construction industry in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Read the full Pensacola News Journal article here.   Facebook…

April 7th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 7, 2020

Important Information from the Escambia County Tax Collector The Escambia County Tax Collector wants you to know how to conduct business with them online in a safe manner. Their official webpage is, where most tax collector services are available and there’s never an extra fee when paying by eCheck. The deadline to renew decals…

April 6th COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 6, 2020

Take the Florida Department of Health Community Action Survey This brief survey will provide the Florida Department of Health and key decision makers the data they need to control the spread of COVID-19. Please take the survey here.    The Paycheck Protection Program is Now Available The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is now available…

Greater Pensacola Chamber Encourages Community Prayer and Support for Nursing Home Workers and Residents

By Sara Lefevers | April 3, 2020

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is excited to be hosting a final effort to show in person support for our community. Although we had hoped to have more time to plan for this event, given yesterday’s Stay-at-Home Order issued by Governor DeSantis that is scheduled to go into effect on Thursday at midnight, tonight…

April 2 COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 2, 2020

COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Chamber The U.S. Chamber’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist serves as a comprehensive step-by-step tool to help small businesses, independent contractors, gig economy workers and other qualifying individuals prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The…

April 1st COVID-19 Update

By Todd Thomson | April 1, 2020

SBDC Grant Program Funded by Gulf Power Available to Small Businesses The Small Business Development Center at UWF has launched the Northwest Florida Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program to assist businesses across our communities impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program was made possible by an initial contribution of $250,000 from Gulf…

Don Gaetz Believes the Gulf Coast Can Triumph

"But it’s not enough for Triumph and its private and public sector partners to produce thousands of new jobs if there aren’t thousands of Northwest Floridians qualified to fill them. That’s why Triumph is working with school districts and higher education institutions to reshape what is taught and how it’s taught in our schools. Triumph already is funding projects in six of our eight counties that will prepare 9,000 students to earn national industry certifications for the very jobs most needed in our region over the next decade." -Don Gaetz

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce was honored to support the University of West Florida in their appeal to Triumph to support their efforts to equip over 3,000 students to earn top-level certifications in cyber security and advanced manufacturing and supply chain logistics industry certifications. Through the Center for Cybersecurity, the Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering UWF proposes to produce a minimum of 3,220 industry certifications that would provide career pathways to high paying jobs across the region.

Read more here...

Department Of Labor Issues Final Ruling on Overtime

Conversations begin in the Florida House Regarding Teacher pay increases

Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum salary threshold established by the Department of Labor for overtime eligibility will be set at $684 per week / $35, 568 annually.

More information about the final rule is available here..

Florida House’s committee on preK-12 education budgeting has begun conversations around the Governor's proposed salary increase for teachers of $47,500 - a total price tag of $603 million, annually. The committee is moving forward with caution, as raising taxes does not seem to be a viable option, however, they are hopeful they can find the funds in existing budgets.

Read more here...


The Board of Education prioritized its Public Education Capital Outlay plan, unanimously approving seven projects that are now in line to receive a combined $86.4 million in construction funding over the next three years - Pensacola state college made that list.

The Board of Education prioritized its Public Education Capital Outlay plan on Friday, September 20th, unanimously approving seven projects  which are in line to receive a combined $86.4 million in construction funding over the next three years.

Read more here...



Recent Progress in the Economy:

  • There were 2.3 million more workers in 2018 than 2017!
  • Workers are earning higher wages with increases by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018.
  • Poverty has declined by 0.5 percentage points to 11.8% which is 1.4 million fewer people in poverty.
  • Economic growth driven by tax reform and recent efforts of the current administration to reduce regulatory burdens are having a positive effect.

Positive outcomes from these results:

  • Workers are better able to support their families.
  • There are more available jobs; however, there are still more jobs than people, so workforce remains a major concern.

Gaps in The Economy That Must be Addressed

“The first is a skills gap – too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs. The second is a people gap – too many businesses can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them. Businesses must be part of the solution. No single entity has a greater stake in the strength of our talent pool than the business community. We have the ideas, the innovations, and the incentive to drive change and create solutions.”, said U.S. Chamber CEO Donohue at the Talent Forward event earlier this year.

The Gaps

  1. Solutions for the Skills Gap
    1. Improving education and mandating increased school accountability, more choices for families, and improved collaboration among key stakeholders.
    2. Ensuring the annual $400 billion dollars of taxpayer money being invested in higher education will result into credentials and a return on investment back into the economy.
    3. The business community must ensure that local education institutions teach in-demand skills by implementing similar programs such as the Foundation Talent Pipeline Management Initiative
    4. Better access to quality childcare, as it is the foundation for basic skills and ability.
  2. Solutions for People Gap
    1. The opioid epidemic is a large contributor to the decline in working-age men in the workforce. We need to support public and private sectors working to address the issue in addition to supporting good public policy.

but fair process for the millions of undocumented people living in the U.S. to have the opportunity to earn a legal status.” This includes the “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. as children and Temporary Protected Status recipients.

  1. We must have good policy to produce good results!

Signs of Policy Uncertainty Is Negatively Affecting the Economy

“Amid all the talk of a possible recession, it’s important for everyone to remember this: Economic expansions do not die of natural causes. They often die because of missteps and policy mistakes. And the biggest mistake our leaders could make right now — putting our economy at greater risk of a downturn — is to stoke further uncertainty We’re calling on our leaders to eliminate the uncertainty, rebuild business confidence and keep this economy working for all Americans.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Donohue writes.

  1. “When leaders make decisions that foster certainty, businesses invest, hire, grow and better drive the economy in a positive direction.”
  2. Examples of the Effect of Fostering Certainty
    1. Unemployment rate has reached a generational low
    2. Employee compensation has risen 3.4% in the first half of 2019
    3. Inflammation remains near record lows
    4. Consumer spending is strong, and retail sales have beat the calculated expectations for the first half of the year.
  3. Examples of the Negative Effect from Not Fostering Certainty
    1. Increased trade tensions and softening of global economy

“The business community shares the administration’s concern over China’s trade and industrial practices, and the U.S. Chamber strongly supports efforts to secure a deal that addresses forced technology transfer, industrial subsidies, data privacy and intellectual-property protection, and market access. The initial tariffs have brought China to the negotiating table, but the current path of constant escalation doesn’t increase the likelihood of a deal; it risks a recession here at home.” – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  1. Business investment has experienced its first decline in three years
  2. Manufacturing sector has been in a downturn for nine months
  3. Famers’ income has plummeted
  4. Investors have begun to panic over “inverted yield curves” in the bond market and wild swings in the stock market – typically key indicators a recession is coming.

The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Commitment

We know that neither growth nor a recession are guaranteed; however, both result from choices we make as a country. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce will be calling on our leaders to eliminate as much uncertainty in the economy’s future as possible by encouraging the introducing and supporting of logical tax reform and an increase in educational and workforce development resources. Together we can close these gaps and increase the business community’s confidence in the future, both near and long.


Sean Hackbarth, A Strong Economy Improves American’s Lives,” First Things First, (September 2019):