Speeches

 

Teen Trendsetters Mentoring Event

October 25, 2011

Good Afternoon.  On behalf of Volunteer USA Foundation I am so excited to be here today.

What a great opportunity to see Teen Trendsetters at work….watching students helping other students succeed.

This year there are 3-thousand students, just like you, who are involved with Teen Trendsetters throughout Florida. That’s a lot of young minds who get that reading is important and fun, too!

It’s what allows us to tackle those tough school subjects….but it also opens our minds to incredible people and places….some real and some imaginary.   From reading about science or your favorite sports team to Harry Potter, books can make us smile, cry, cheer and they definitely give us brain power!

We know that 88% of students who do not graduate from high school…are not proficient readers in the third grade.  The great news is, through Teen Trendsetters programs like your own, we help young students achieve. On average, mentees enter Teen Trendsetters programs about 9 months behind their peers in reading…but by the time they finish a school year of mentoring sessions,  1 out of  2 are reading at the proficient level.  That means, we are putting more children are the path to graduation.

So I applaud all of you for being here. I know our elementary students are going to have a blast learning with their teen buddies! And, for our Blountstown High students…good for you for doing something that helps others.  I promise, this experience will reward you in many ways.       

99% of our Trendsetters graduate –plus they earn college scholarships at more than double the rate of other students. So keep up the great work!

Finally, I’d like to thank Rep. Marti Coley for being such a great advocate for Calhoun County students.  She understands that mentoring programs like Teen Trendsetters can make a real difference in helping our young people.

Thank you Rep. Coley and especially to our school administrators and teachers who have put so much work into bringing Teen Trendsetters to their students. Happy Reading!

 

 

Higher Education Coordinating Committee

April 26, 2011

Mr. Chairman and members of the Higher Education Coordinating Council, thank you for the opportunity to address you today.   On behalf of Associated Industries of Florida and the thousands of employers we represent, I offer our appreciation for your service to the state and particularly for the improved planning and coordination you are bringing to higher education in Florida. 

I want to focus my comments today on three areas for your consideration; areas that my members and I believe are critical to your work and to the future of our state:  Access, Articulation, and Accountability

Access

First of all, I call on you to have as your number one priority,  the protection and growth of access to higher education for all Floridians. 

Numerous studies and data can show you the economic benefits of even a small amount of education beyond high school.  Wages increase dramatically with a single postsecondary certificate, and they continue to increase as educational attainment increases to a bachelor’s degree and beyond.

As you know, I’m a product of the Florida College System, an alum of Miami Dade College, and I spend a great deal of time advocating for that system because I see them as the primary point of access to higher education for so many Floridians.  The Florida College System provides access for key workforce certificates and degrees, as well as the access to higher education for many folks who would not otherwise go to college –we call “non-traditional” populations of students. 

I also see ALL the other sectors as key pieces of the higher education system.

Increasing access is an “all hands on deck” problem to address

There is enough need and demand for each and every sector represented here to grow dramatically over the next 20 years. Furthermore, if our state is going to be competitive for an economic future that is much brighter than our current economic state, we MUST grow dramatically in each sector represented here:  public, private, college, university – we as a community of employers need you ALL. 

I urge you, the Higher Education Coordinating Committee to take a long-term view at access and growth. 

Look – at more than what we have today. 

Look – at where we want to be in 5, 10, 20 years. 

Look – beyond today’s economic reality. 

Project a system of higher education that is THE seminal factor in a vibrant economy in the year 2030.  What does access to higher education look like in that world?

I urge you to write a detailed description of our system of higher education based on the view in 2030. Describe the public sectors – Florida Colleges, State Universities.  Describe the private sectors – ICUF, For-profits. 

Describe how they work together to provide the economic engine of highly skilled individuals who are ready for the global workplace.  Describe how students move between those sectors with ease. 

And, once the description is complete, then let’s write the plan to get us there.  Start with that vision of access to higher education for all Floridians. 

Articulation

Next, lets zero in on one policy that I think is key to your work  – articulation.  We all know that Florida leads the country in policies that allow students to move seamlessly from our Florida College System into a State university and many private colleges as well.  That seamless movement – articulation – has been such a part of our higher education system, for so long, that I think we are beginning to take it for granted, and in fact, I believe it is at risk. 

Other states are taking a page from our book, and writing the next chapter.  Other states are exceeding our articulation policies particularly in the workforce oriented areas of study.  Most importantly, other states ahead of us in the area of transition from high school to college. 

Second only to access, I believe that your most important work, as the body charged with coordinating higher education in Florida, should be to protect and grow policies that allow, to the greatest extent possible, the seamless transfer of credit between sectors of education from high school through graduate school.   Frankly, I think that articulation and access are really one and the same because articulation – between Florida College System, the State University System, ICUF, and many for profit colleges such as Keiser University – IS the primary way students receive a bachelor’s degree in Florida today. 

I urge you to examine each and every transition point for students and encourage policies that make it easiest for a student to continue along the higher education ladder. Because the higher they climb, the greater our state’s economic reality will become. 

Accountability

Finally, I want to ask you to keep an eye toward accountability in all your actions, plans, and reports.  I am a strong believer that institutions need to be held accountable for the taxpayer funds that are received.  But beyond just fiscal accountability, I think we owe it to our students to give them an education that is top quality and highly valuable in the marketplace for employment.

If in your studies and plans, you find that performance funding or other financial incentives could be useful, I trust you will make those recommendations to the Legislature.  I again, remind that the work you are doing is not just for today’s economic climate.  I know that we are in survival mode when it comes to funding.  So I’m certainly not recommending performance funding in today’s economic environment.  But you are planning for our future.  And I am confident that in our future, there will be room for incentives in our higher education system.  I ask you to look for ways to encourage institutions to act in a manner that is in the best interest of the student, and the state’s economy.

But along with all this talk about accountability, I ask you to consider how you balance coordination, planning, and accountability at a state level with Florida’s long held tradition of local governance of institutions by boards of trustees.  Whether public or private, I believe our higher education institutions are all unique.  And they are best when they are allowed to meet the needs of their communities and their students.  So in closing, I urge you to prioritize local autonomy – for all sectors – as you work toward a system of coordination and planning for statewide needs.

Again, I thank you for the important work you are doing for the State of Florida, for our employers who are working to turn around this economy, and most of all for the students who are our future.

 

 

Citizens for Fairness in FloridaPress Availability

April 19, 2011

  • As we approach the final weeks of our state’s legislation session, our lawmakers need to understand the urgency in passing getting House Bill 1207.  This legislation would require all of Florida’s cigarette manufacturers to pay the state much needed dollars, regardless of their size or market share. 
  • For many years, this issue has been a top priority for AIF because it will help strengthen our state’s weak budget and will promote fairness in the tobacco industry. 
  • Every day, AIF fights for the state’s business community and this legislation will end an unfair policy that gives special treatment to only a few of the state’s tobacco companies. 
  • In 1997, the Florida Tobacco Settlement Agreement asked the state’s largest tobacco manufacturers to pay into a state fund that would contribute towards things like health care.  
  • However, a group of small tobacco companies, also known as non‐ participating manufacturers or NPMs, were exempt from paying into this fund.  At the time of the Settlement, these brands represented a very small share of Florida’s cigarette market and were omitted from charging similar fees on their products as their competitors.  
  • Today, NPMs account for one out of five packs of cigarettes sold in the state and this exponential growth has been due to the unfair price advantage NPM brands have had.  If House Bill 1207 does not become law, this number will only continue to grow. 
  • This is problematic because each time a consumer purchases a pack of cigarettes manufactured by a NPM brand, the state misses out on serious dollars.  If we continue to allow the market share of NPMs to unfairly grow, the Settlement Fund will be depleted and Florida’s taxpayers will be left to pick up the costs. 
  • All smokers should have to pay the state the same fees regardless of the brand they smoke‐ No smoker should be allowed to neglect giving the state critical dollars. 
  • Dosal Tobacco Corporation, a cigarette manufacturer located right here in Miami, is Florida’s leading manufacturer not paying into the Settlement Fund.   Dosal is also the second‐largest seller of cigarettes in our state‐ They sell more cigarettes than two of the three companies who already contribute to the settlement.   How is this fair? 
  • Dosal also employs dozens of lobbyists and makes significant political donations‐ they clearly have the ability to make a contribution toward the health of our residents. 
  • Dosal argues this legislation will run them out of business.  However, they already pay equivalent surcharges in 14 other states and remain profitable. The problem is that they hypocritically refuse to pay in their own home state‐ and while they make massive profits, Florida’s budget suffers. 
  • Florida is also only one of two states that does not require these brands to pay similar surcharges. 
  • The fact is, Florida is facing a significant budget shortfall and we simply cannot afford to give some tobacco companies a loophole that denies the state dollars.  Over the past ten years, Florida has lost more than $1 billion for omitting these manufacturers. 
  • The Settlement Fund has generated real benefit for Florida and we need to ensure all manufacturers contribute to it.  As of 2010, Florida has taken in more than $6 billion from manufacturers that pay into the Settlement. These are significant dollars that have made a real impact in the state. 
  • Now is the time to close this loophole and enact fair tobacco policies once and for all.  Our marketplace requires fairness and we cannot tolerate this loophole any longer. 

   

Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar

June 16, 2010

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

First, let me say congratulations on your accomplishment of being recognized to attend this seminar, as well as on your successful completion of it.  I understand that at least two former participants are now college presidents in Florida and many more are in other leadership positions in the Florida College System and around the country.  I hope you will go on to become the future leaders of this great system.  Well, I don’t just hope so, I expect so and challenge you to do so.  We need you.

My name is Barney Bishop, President & CEO of Associated Industries of Florida.  AIF represents thousands of employers before the Legislature in Tallahassee.  More importantly to you though, I am Barney Bishop, alumni of Miami Dade College.  I’m a product if the Florida College System.  I know the important work you do, because you did it in my life many years ago.  And I know the good work you continue to do because I was just back in Miami last week, for the signing of n articulation agreement between my two alma maters – Miami Dade College and Emerson.

But I’m not here to talk about me today, I’m here to talk about you.  I want to tell you what you can expect from business as a partner as you move into the role of college president.  I’m also here to give you some insight as to what we – the business community – expect of you.  I’m here to talk to you, CEO to future CEO.

First, here is what you can expect of me, and AIF as your partner.  We have, and will continue to use our lobbying power to your benefit at the Capitol.  We do that because we believe in you and value what you produce.

The business community has been very active in education issues, and AIF has led the way with a focus on college readiness that led to more rigorous high school curriculum and tougher high school graduation standards.  You may wonder why I’m talking to you about high school standards.  It’s because of research about students in YOUR colleges, students who came to you ill-prepared for college level work.  Now I know that many of the students you serve come to you as adults who need extra help in getting ready to come back to college.  We may not be able to improve their preparation before they get to you, but it is a complete failure to produce high school graduates who are not prepared for college work when they go right on to college, as they are doing in increasing numbers.

So AIF has focused our efforts to date on college readiness.  But we also support your funding, due to the growth you are experiencing and the workforce potential you hold for my members – our state’s employers.

ONE MILLION STUDENTS.  That is one million workers in my mind.  We support you, because we count on you for OUR most important resource – our human capital.

AIF supports you at the Capitol.  Local employers will support you locally in many ways when you are a valued and trusted partner.  They’ll support you financially, with their service (on your boards and committees) and politically.

Which brings me to what business expects of you.  We see ourselves as the ultimate consumer of what you produce.  Whether your graduates go straight to work or go on to further higher education, they eventually come to us.  And we need them well prepared.  Just as we demand that high school graduates be prepared for you, we also demand that you prepare your students for us.  We demand quality, but we also demand partnerships, alignment of skills.

There are certain generic things we need – ability to read, write, spell and compute – these skills are of particular importance.  But we also need students trained with specific skills to the jobs we have available and the jobs we want to create.  The Florida College System has a history of partnering well with businesses and I know many of you do this now in your communities.  There are so many stories and examples.

But when you are at the CEO level, it will be incumbent upon YOU to build those partnerships, ensure that alignment and hold the ultimate responsibility for producing what we businesses need to “consume”.  As our economy changes, so will our needs.  We must stay in conversation with each other so that we can remain agile to meet those changing needs.

I have some specific ideas for moving forward that I’m going to be developing at a state level with our education council that advises the AIF board.  Here are a few examples because I hope you’ll join me in working on these in your community – this is more of what business wants from you:

I’d like to see that all of education work together better to educate kids… public colleges and universities, private colleges and universities, for profit, not for profit, and certainly K-12 through higher education.  All of this needs to be coordinated better so that outcomes are reached that will make these students employable.  No one tier can do it all themselves, so the in-fighting must subside.  AIF has championed the middle tier – community colleges and private for-profit post-secondary institutions because they seem to do the best to produce students with the best skill sets, but Pre-K – 12 and the universities have to do better, and we must all WORK TOGETHER better.  I’ll be pushing this at the state level.  I hope you will work for it at home.

Second, I’d like to see a statewide State University System and Florida College System “data bank” created consisting of the post-secondary expertise that educators have that could be valuable for business owners.  I have suggested this before, if the business community knew which educator knew what about manufacturing, consulting, research and development, etc. and they could share any knowledge that they may have about a particular foreign country, then that could be very valuable to business owners and new entrepreneurs.

Third, the education bureaucracy must be trimmed.  I’d like to see a reduction of the layers between the “CEO” of the institution and the front line workers (professors, adjuncts, etc) because education cannot continue on the same road at the same costs.  We need more distance learning, better facility utilization and more nimble organizations as our economy shifts and resources are tight.  I know you’ve been trimming budgets while facing double-digit growth for four years now.  So you have probably cut a lot of “fat”.

Fourth, we need education “cost incentives” to encourage students to finish high school, community college, and universities faster.  I know your system, again, is the only one who has been funded on performance in the past and you always did well with it.  Your performance fund hasn’t been funded lately, but I’d like to see us go back to that for you, as well as all of education.  Your job is to get students to finish what they start.  You should be rewarded when you accomplish that job.  There are other more K-12 specific ideas, but one final idea I leave you with is also a challenge to you personally as you leave this seminar today and go back to your college and community, and that is mentoring.

I encourage mentoring and volunteerism throughout the education system in Florida.  Both will allow students to give back to society while helping them to gain an appreciation of others.  And I specifically encourage you to do it in your college.  I would guess that all of you made it here today because someone took time and gave attention to your career development.  Think about whom that it was for you, it may be several people.  Go home and thank them.  And then pay it forward.

Thank you for your service to the Florida College System, but more importantly to the ONE MILLION students you serve and what you mean for our state.

 

 

Florida Transportation Builders’ Association – RALLY in TALLY

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

  • There has been a lot of talk nationally and here in Florida about what we can do to reverse the worsening unemployment rate.
  • This unfortunate economic situation has invigorated the innovative spirit of America as we put forth new and creative ways to protect and create jobs…to ensure businesses can endure.
  • Regrettably, a recently agreed upon raid of the State Transportation Trust Fund would have the opposite effect and could possibly result in the loss of more than 11,000 jobs.
  • With a record high unemployment number released just a few weeks ago, we cannot afford to push the jobless rate any further.
  • The cost of Medicaid, extended unemployment benefits and unemployment compensation taxes, which Associated Industries of Florida just fought to keep down, will mount if the Legislature allows for the transportation trust fund to be cut and jobs to be lost.
  • All of this hurts businesses’ ability to stay in business – especially the transportation building and allied industries.
  • By raiding these trust fund dollars, we will eliminate opportunities for companies to grow and create new jobs.
  • We should be using the dollars in the State Transportation Trust Fund to advance construction-ready road projects that can deliver real and immediate economic stimulus.
  • For every $1 spent on road construction, $7 is returned to the economy.
  • We need the lawmakers to stop all attempted cuts to the State Transportation Trust Fund – for Florida families and businesses alike.