Florida Workers More Educated, Diverse, NOT Richer

posted by Gordon Byrd - 

MIAMI (970 WFLA) -- There's an old saying that Florida workers get half their pay in sunshine... and despite their efforts to improve themselves, a new report suggests there's still some truth to that. 

Every Labor Day weekend, Florida International University in Miami has been releasing reports on the state of Florida's workforce since the dawn of the 21st century. Author Ali Bustamante says our state now has a more educated workforce than ever. One out of three has a college degree. But wages don't reflect that. He says many of those workers may be underemployed and not getting the premium for their diplomas. 

Bustamante says that even as Florida's workforce becomes more diverse,  the racial gap in unemployment is still there. 

Bustamante's report recommends offering more need-based help to college students, including a plan to increase college enrollment by 10 percent by offering certain needy students free tuition. It also calls for more efforts to develop the alternative energy industry, including solar power. 

Bustamante says raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost $579 million, but deliver an economic benefit of $830 million, not counting the additional state taxes these workers would pay. 

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