Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glover Offers Workforce Plan; Weinstein Has Similar Pledge

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glover Offers Workforce Plan; Weinstein Has Similar Pledge

Article excerpt

Democrat Nat Glover has added himself to the list of mayoral candidates who believe a poorly educated workforce is the primary reason Jacksonville does not attract more high-pay jobs.

Glover said his economic development agenda therefore would focus on the coordination of technical education programs for local high school and community college students.

"Workforce development is the primary need when you look at economic development," Glover said this week. "What's more crucial than anything is the mayor's interest in this and the mayor's influence behind it."

Fred Schultz, who helped Glover craft the plan, cited curricular coordination as one area where a mayor could make a difference.

"The different levels of education don't communicate, collaborate or cooperate as well as they could," said Schultz, chairman of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. "In 40 years of dealing with education, the biggest problem I've seen is the turf problem."

Glover's general commitment to workforce development echoed a similar commitment previously offered by Republican Mike Weinstein.

"There's no question that workforce development is part of the equation and Mike certainly has made that one of the hallmarks of his campaign," said spokeswoman Susie Wiles.

The campaign of Democratic rival Betty Holzendorf said it had no comment on Glover's plan because of the lack of specifics. Campaign spokeswoman Von Alexander said Holzendorf would release her own plan next week.

Other members of the seven-candidate field have pledged to improve the quality of the city's workforce, too. But none of the candidates, including Weinstein and Glover, has promised anything more than time and interest.

Other aspects of Glover's economic development platform are similarly controversial. Like his opponents, he pledged to make the city's permitting processes more efficient and to serve as chief salesman for the city.

But the question of where to use tax rebates has divided the field. All four Republican candidates have argued for a change in the city's policy limiting tax rebates to companies locating or expanding on the Northside, Westside or downtown. They say they want to extend incentives to areas of need on the Southside, a proposal opposed by all three Democrats.

SENIORS ON HOMELESS

Senior citizens attending a political forum yesterday at Cathedral Terrace in Jacksonville grilled mayoral candidates on how they would address one of the seniors' biggest annoyances -- the homeless they say intimidate them.

"This is a group that votes and this is a group that talks," said John Sefton, board chairman of the Cathedral Foundation, which sponsored the forum.

Some of those who attended the forum said they are frequently intimidated by the homeless while walking around outside their downtown high-rise. …

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