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Workforce Florida-Complete Failure to African American Communities


Political ideology must be removed from the creation of jobs in Florida's minority communities.  WorkForce Florida is a symbol of both racial and economic division in Florida.  To truly bring change to Florida, models that promote socio-economic divsion in communities of color must be rejected and replaced with a model that promotes:

Access, Diversity, Accountability, Transparency and Economic Inclusion


FMCRC Request Washington DC Meeting To Discuss Workforce Florida Issue:


            July 6, 2009

            United State Department of Labor

Honorable Douglas F. Small

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

WashingtonD.C.  20210



Workforce Florida Inc.

Mr. Chris Hart IV


1580 Waldo Palmer Lane,  Suite 1

TallahasseeFL 32309


Transmitted via fax and certified mail



1)  Workforce Florida CEO:  A Complete and Utter Failure To African American Communities in Florida

2)  Access to Workforce Florida Funding by Cities and Counties


Honorable Douglas F. Small:


We at FMCRC thank you for participation of the US Department of Labor at the recent FMCRC Annual Florida Minority Community Economic Development Summit.  The participation of your organization is a symbol of inclusion and access under the leadership of Secretary Solis.  I am a transplant six years ago from Los Angeles to Floridaand witnessed firsthand the leadership of Secretary Solis as a Congresswoman who fully understood the issues of workforce development. 


FMCRC works with over 75 minority community and faith based organizations that support the vision of both President Obama and Secretary Solis that job creation is the foundation to revitalization of distressed communities in our country.  To achieve this goal, it is critical to have an environment of access, accountability and transparency with workforce development mechanisms.  In California, I witnessed an environment of inclusion, access, diversity and engagement from the workforce boards and state agency. I wish I could say the same for Florida.  The Workforce Florida agency and workforce boards in Florida have become tools for political positioning for the far right and have taken on a vision that has resulted in a complete utter failure for the African America community in Florida.



FMCRC along with a nationally respected university, studied over 40 census tracts that are predominately African American.  The unemployment rates in all these census tracts were well above the national average with some above 40% unemployment rates. 


This failure by Workforce Florida has detrimental economic implications for all Floridians.  The economic distress of minority communities may be one of the most pressing issues facing Florida.  The lack of businesses and jobs in our minority communities fuels not only a crushing cycle of increasing poverty but also crippling social problems, such as drug abuse and crime in our communities.  The establishment of a sustainable economic base together with employment opportunities-training, wealth creation, role models, and improved local infrastructure is critical to the future well-being of the minority communities of Florida.


To address this need, Florida minority community development organizations, in partnership with the Greenlining Institute of California, launched the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition (FMCRC).  The mission of FMCRC is to empower minority communities in the areas of community development, small business, health, sustainable development and employment.  At the core of FMCRC is the creation of a paradigm shift in community reinvestment for minority communities.  A critical partner in this paradigm shift will be state agencies such as Workforce Florida and their approach and philosophy as it relates to community reinvestment into both minority organizations and communities.  Grass roots minority organizations in Florida are critical to reverse the uprising rate of poverty in our communities.  In short, proper allocation of resources to these minority organizations will be necessary to reverse the excessive unemployment rates in the African American communities in Florida.


Workforce Florida has been identified as critical public organization for minority organizations and communities to have proper access and opportunity as we struggle to reverse the trends of poverty in our communities.  With this being said, in a recent survey, over 86% of Florida minority organizations gave Workforce Florida a grade of F as it relates to access to resources and diversity.  Yet over 90% of these organizations indicated they wish to have more information and interaction with Workforce Florida. 


During my tenure in the United States Air Force, I was taught that “fish stinks from the head down”.  In other words, the success or failure of an organization begins with the top leader.  In this case the top leader of Workforce Florida is Mr. Chris Hart.  In an air of working together to drive solutions, we at FMCRC attempted several times to contact Mr. Hart so we could engage him on solutions to these issues.  Every attempt, including two certified letters, resulted in no communication back what so ever.  It is obvious by this complete lack of respect to our communities that if you do not subscribe to the extreme right philosophy, Mr. Hart does not wish to engage you.  This is also apparent in the complete lack of diversity in both Mr. Hart top management and the workforce boards across Florida. 


With both poverty and unemployment at record levels in both the African American and minority communities across Florida, it is about solutions.  We are requesting a meeting with you Mr. Small so we could present the following:


1)                            FMCRC Poverty and Unemployment Study of 40 Florida minority census tracts that will outline the critical state for African Americans in Florida

2)                            FMCRC Florida Workforce Plan that outlines recommendations to provide cities and counties ability to bid for Workforce Florida funds.  This plan will demonstrate the ability of cities and counties to be more effective in serving distressed communities while at the same time minimizing political posturing. 



To arrange this request for a meeting or if there are any questions or concerns, please myself directly at (813) 598-6361.  Thank you again Mr. Small for the support of the US Department of Labor at our recent Summit. 






Al Pina


Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition

3308 Paxton AveTampa FL 33611
(813) 598-6361
(941) 284-0688




Greg B. Macabenta (National Chairman, National Federation of Filipino American Associations) Winnie Tang (President- Organization of Chinese Americans, South Florida Chapter) Elaine Black (President-Liberty City Trust) Ron Frazier (Chairman- BAC Funding Corporation) Joy Bruce (Founder-President/CEO, NANAY Inc.) Raul Espinosa (President- Fairness In Procurement Alliance) Martha Pellino (President, El Concillio) Ed Diaz (United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) Frank Rodriquez (Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking) Reggie Clyne Esq. (Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr., Bar Association)  Orson Aguilar (Director, Greenlining Institute) Johnson Ng (Executive Director, United Chinese Association of Florida) Val Dagani (Founder, Filipino American Coalition of Florida) Emilio Perez (President, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce Central Florida) Doug Mayorga (President, Florida Minority Chamber of Commerce)  Rolando Sanchez-Medina, Esq. (President, Cuban American Bar Association) Nydia Menendez, Esq. (President, Puerto Rican Bar Association) Emil R. Infante, Esq. (Puerto Rican Bar Association) Kerth J. Conze, Esq. (President, Haitian Bar Association) Jay Kim, Esq. (Asian Bar Association) Dr. Eladio Arnesto (Treasurer, US Hispanic Publishers Association) Sylvia Alvarez (President, Housing & Education Alliance) Tomas Lares (Coalition of Latino Central Florida Faith Based Organizations) Glorious J. Johnson (Council Member, City of Jacksonville) Dr. Bessie Fletcher (President, Mothers & Daughters Inc.) Sam Lopez (Chairman, Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) Bobby Rodriquez (CEO, Latin Chamber of Commerce of the Treasure Coast) Luis De Rosa (President, National Coalition of Puerto Rican Chambers of Commerce) Bobby Perez (President, Southwest Florida Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce) Dorothy Hughes (President, Gateway Economic Empowerment Coalition) Maria Benton (President, Spain in Jacksonville) Eddie Stanton (President, Mad Dads Inc.)  Elise Shore (Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) Romeo De La Paz (Chair, Filipino American Foundation)




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