I am in total agreement with the Economic Development and Tourism director for Lake County, Robert Chandler on this posting.
“I was born and raised in Lake County, went off to college and promised I’d never come back.
I felt like Lake County had nothing to offer me.
No jobs, no excitement, no future for a young man looking to find his place in the world.
When you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and seemingly unlimited opportunities and paths to make something of yourself, Lake County is quickly eliminated from your list of exciting destinations.
I wasn’t alone in my thinking then, and I certainly would not be alone with that perception if I were graduating from high school or college today.
Despite my thinking as an all-knowing, 17-year-old high school graduate, here I am at 36 raising my own family in Lake County.
Five years ago, when faced with the decision of where to raise our children, my wife, also a Lake County native, and I decided that it could be no other place than Lake County.
So, we willingly and excitedly moved our family to Lake County, and we have not regretted that decision for one minute.
Lake County is a special place.
Small towns, the outdoors, good people — this is what Lake County means to us, this is what we want our kids to grow up with and this is what makes Lake County one of the most special communities in Central Florida.
I did not understand this when I was 17, and I certainly don’t expect 17- to 22-year-olds to understand that today.
But for Lake County to grow, for Lake County to rebound from one of the most devastating economic downturns in history, we are going to have to find a way to keep its best and brightest home.
While a valiant effort could be made to convince our youth that “one day you will come to appreciate Lake County and will want to move back and raise your own kids here,” I’m fairly confident it would be met with limited success.
At the end of the day, young adults are looking for opportunities to become successful and accomplish their dreams.
They are looking for excitement and vibrancy.
Until Lake County can create those opportunities at home, we will continue to experience this talent leakage.
The good news is that Lake County is primed to begin providing these opportunities.
Florida is experiencing an economic resurgence, and Central Florida, specifically, is leading the state in job growth.
In Lake County, unemployment is at a 6.5-year low, job growth is increasing at a pace of over 4 percent a year and Lake County businesses are beginning to invest and hire again.
Our post-secondary education and workforce training institutions are doubling down on programs to enable our high school graduates to get educated and get a job in Lake County, and Lake County Economic Development is placing significant resources behind the fostering and recruiting of not just jobs, but high-wage jobs.”
Robert Chandler is the Economic Development and Tourism director for Lake County.