Talent Pipeline Team 

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The Talent Pipeline Team was formed cooperatively by Polk  Vision in partnership with the  Central Florida Development  Council and is focused on filling the gap of high skill, high wage jobs necessary to meet Polk  County’s current and emerging industry workforce needs.

The Polk County economy requires a pipeline of qualified workers to meet the demands of local employers. This pipeline is highly dependent upon high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, and college completion rates.

The plan is to increase educational attainment - substantially altering local conditions, improving quality of life and serving as an economic catalyst for increased productivity.

Goals for the Team include increasing the number of students who graduate high school with a diploma and a direct pathway to a career or post-secondary education. This will provide a  more robust pipeline of talent and skills and reduce the existing gap of employable individuals in particular jobs and sectors.  Outcomes are measured by the number of high school graduates who then enter college or technical school, or directly enter the skilled workforce, or elect to enter the military.



The Florida College Access  Network (FCAN) is Florida ’s first collaborative network committed to ensuring all Floridians have the opportunity to achieve an education beyond high school and prosper in Florida’s dynamic economy.  Their mission is to create and sustain a statewide network of communities to increase college and career preparation, access, and completion for all  Florida students. They have established a Florida Goal 2025: For 60% of working-age Floridians to hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by the year 2025.

Polk Vision joined the statewide network as the representative  organization serving Polk County recognizing that FCAN’s guiding values  align with the work of our Education Teams:

  • College is postsecondary education. FCAN uses the term “college”  to refer to the attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials beyond high school, including technical certificates and academic degrees.
  • College readiness is career readiness. All Florida students deserve to receive a high-quality PreK-12 education, which prepares them academically for success in college or a career.
  • College is for everyone. All Florida students deserve the opportunity to pursue a high-quality postsecondary education that prepares them to effectively participate in the 21st-century knowledge-based global economy.
  • College is a public good. Postsecondary educational opportunity and attainment are critical to a just and equitable society, strong democracy, robust economy, and healthy communities.
The Talent Pipeline Team coordinates partnerships between post-secondary advisors and high school career/college advisors. These collaborations include the goal of increasing the number of Free  Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completions in Polk County.
For the coming year the Team has determined its work to include:
1.  Advise and support the Local College Access Network in the development of a strategic plan aimed at creating a pipeline of well trained, skilled, and credentialed individuals prepared to meet current and emerging industry needs. The plan will encompass both high school to post-secondary as well as students who may have previously stopped out of a program.
2.  Finalize research on the employability skills gap and create and pilot a  program in response to the stated needs of local industry.
3. Convene industry-specific forums, in conjunction with the Central Florida  Development Council, and area Chambers to gather information and engage businesses in the talent pipeline dialogue.


Talent Pipeline Team

Orathai Northern - Chair, Polk State College

Cheryl Arrington, Polk County Public Schools 

Wendy Bolin, Saddle Creek Logistics Services

Naomi Boyer, NOME LLC

Amy Bratten, Southeastern University

Sarah Breed, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

Monique Byrd, Polk County Public Schools 

Stacy Campbell-Domineck, Career Source Polk

Hal Coffman, Madrid Engineering Group

Carly Evans, Keiser University

Kyle Fedler, Florida Southern College

Kaci Gingras, Mckeel Academy

Jacquie Hobgood, Haines City Economic Development Council

Nicole Irby, BB&T Bank

Jesse Jackson, Lake Wales Charter District

Susan LeFrancois, Florida Polytechnic University               

Larry Madrid, Madrid Engineering Group

Sean Malott, Central Florida Development Council

Nelson  Marquez, Webber International University

Lori Martini, GiveWell Community Foundation

Cindy McCalla, City of Lakeland

Phil Minden, Bartow Regional Medical Center

Devyn Montalvo, Webber International University

Laquieria Nottage, Polk County Public Schools 

Booke Paquette, Saint Leo University

Trish Pfeiffer, City of Bartow

Sara Beth Reynolds, Polk County School Board

Jim Sidou, Saddle Creek Logistics Services

Chad Tagtow, Citizens Bank and Trust

Paizley Whidden, Warner University

Alena White, Saint Leo University

Leigh Ann Wynn, Warner University

Lindsay Zimmerman, Central Florida Development Council