It seems like every group and organization in South Florida is working on a formula to reverse the ‘brain drain’, stop the ‘intellectual exodus’ or prevent the ‘mind migration’. With solutions that range from online resources and job boards to skills-based training and data collection on Miami’s talent pool, there is no deficiency of great ideas.
There is also a tremendous amount of public support. Politicians and public officials are consistently crafting their rhetoric around job creation as a means to retain local talent. Foundations and nonprofits are implementing campaigns to retain talent by promoting a New Miami – one based on more substance than just beaches and parties. And yet amidst all the talk, there seems to be a disproportionate amount of action.
That’s not to say there has been a complete lack of it either.
The Miami Foundation released “Match305,” a talent retention project aimed at showing users how good of a match Miami is for them as a city. The Knight Foundation has made numerous grants to organizations in order to spur the local startup and tech scenes. The Beacon Council uses its New Leaders Taskforce to retain talent by leveraging the many Young Professional groups in Miami.
Startups are getting into the mix, too. Demo Hire, a video-based hiring platform, is a pioneer in the field and completely revolutionizing job search while a slue of staffing companies have sprung up all over South Florida.
So what’s the problem? It’s not enough.
The issue can’t be fixed uniformly. The idea of coming up with a formula to solve talent retention, especially in a city as culturally and skills diverse as Miami, is ludicrous. Job-seekers are too diverse to be categorized into “buckets” and the rapidly changing nature of our economy makes it almost impossible to achieve a mobile labor force. The only way to solve the problem of talent retention is by creating more solutions – not seeking a magic bullet. What Miami needs is a plethora of approaches, each with its own niche demographic and a focus on actually placing people in jobs not just showing them the laundry list of possibilities.
The Miami Job Fest, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 14, from 10am-6pm, is an example of this tailored approach. Focused on tech and startup jobs, the Job Fest doesn’t seek to solve the problem of unemployment and talent retention citywide but rather within a smaller subset of employers and job-seekers. About 20 tech employers, both large companies and fledgling startups alike, will be on-site with a host of opportunities from full-time positions to freelance gigs. Employers are looking for front- and back-end programmers, sales & marketing associates, account managers, PR specialists, social media experts, graphic designers, internships and many more. All disciplines are welcome and highly encouraged to attend – startups, above all, can often benefit more from hiring the right person than the one with the right skillset.
On the preceding Friday night, Sept. 13, from 6-9pm, there will be a special networking event where employers will take turns pitching to job-seekers in attendance on their respective company and open positions therein. This is a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at the jobs available while also networking with local entrepreneurs, investors, employers and fellow job seekers.
Maybe the jobs available aren’t for you, or you already have a job, but do you know someone that might be interested? TELL THEM. Job Fairs can be just as much about local discovery as finding the next paycheck, so pay it forward and recommend it to a friend. In doing so, you help a friend find a job, a company find an employee, and Miami keep its talent and companies within the city limits.
Niche job fairs help filter all the noise – attracting only the right employers and the right job-seekers, thereby increasing the opportunities of a perfect match. Starting small, and starting niche, won’t yield results overnight. But hopefully, something about it will inspire other sectors to do the same.
Registration is free at www.MiamiJobFest.co and gets you access to both Friday night and all day Saturday. So brush up that resume, dress to impress, bust out that winning smile, and join us:
Friday, September 13th, 6-9pm
Saturday, September 14th, 10am-6pm
Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus
300 NE 2nd Ave
#3210 – Building #3
Miami, FL 33132
Danny Lafuente is the COO and co-founder of The LAB Miami. He is a proud Miami native and alumni of Ransom Everglades School and the University of Pennsylvania. You can email him at Danny@TheLABMiami.com.