MILTON — From October 2016 to July 2017, three companies in Santa Rosa County have or will have added 30 employees, 10 more jobs, and spent $4.5 million in capital investments, according to Santa Rosa County Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree.
Cape Horn Boats added 10 jobs to its 30 with over $4 million in capital investments. Gulf Cable/WTEC added 20 employees and invested $1 million. Project Mash, a military contractor, will add 10 employees and invest $500,000, according to a report Ogletree gave Tuesday to the Board of County Commissioners.
In addition, 19 companies are showing an active interest in the county, which would mean more jobs for area residents.
July 18, Ogletree presented to county commissioners the status of the Economic Development Office’s efforts to bring jobs to the county including the numbers related to leads, the industry sectors his office is pursuing, and current business development activities.
From October to July, the EDO received 44 leads and responded to 36.
“There are various reasons why we might haven’t responded to those eight,” Ogletree said. “There could be no hangar on the runway. They need 500 acres.”
Of those 36, 11 decided not to come to the county; 19 are active; three are inactive but have not decided against the county. The three prospects have made an inquiry into the county, according to Ogletree.
“Twenty-five companies haven’t told us ‘no,'" he said.
The county also participated in 18 business development activities ranging from hosting a foreign delegate to working with the school district’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics initiative, according to Ogletree’s report.
In October, the EDO hosted U.S. Ambassador Robert Orr to Japan and Consul General of Japan Ken Okaniwa. Okaniwa’s main interest is in the aerospace industry and would work to raise Japanese companies' interest related to aerospace to recognize Florida’s growing aerospace industry.
Aerospace is a growing industry in the county as well. Of the 36 responding companies in Ogletree’s report, 17 percent are in aerospace. Of the 39 percent in manufacturing, some of those also make aerospace parts, Ogletree said.
Ogletree’s report also touts websites his office created to show site consultants information pertinent to their needs like available space and local workforce.
For example, www.santarosacareerpathways.com lists the career academies available in Santa Rosa County’s middle schools, high schools, technical schools and colleges.
The website's visitors can click on an industry from the home page, like commercial arts. The next page lists job opportunities by required experience and includes 2016 average hourly rates, such as $22.83 as a graphic designer with two to four years of education beyond high school.
Under job opportunities, the training pathways section shows where in Santa Rosa County students can attain the education needed for such jobs like the Digital Design Multimedia Design Academy at Milton High School.