Turner Arbour, who works for the Pasco Economic Development Council (Pasco EDC), has been named the recipient of the 2023 Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year by the Florida Economic Development Council.
Arbour also was recently honored with a resolution adopted by the Pasco County Commission, congratulating him for his accomplishments.
The resolution, adopted by the county board on Dec. 5, detailed many of Arbour’s achievements, including the fact that he’s the youngest recipient of the Jennings award of the 16 recipients to date.
The county board’s resolution praises Arbour for “demonstrating unwavering commitment and dedication to enhancing the professional landscape of Pasco County.”
It also notes that Turner joined the Pasco EDC as an intern in 2018, when the economic development organization launched its Workforce Connect program.
He transitioned into the role as the workforce development manager, and forged partnerships with local workforce training and education entities, created the WorkforceConnectPasco.com platform, and was promoted to senior economic development manager overseeing all business, retention and expansion, international, and workforce programs, the resolution says.
The recognition also credits Arbour for being instrumental in hosting the Pasco 50 event, an initiative allowing the top 50 employers in Pasco County to collaborate, share insights, and benefit from discussions on pertinent topics such as mental health in the workplace and starting internship programs.
Arbour holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Business, serves on the CareerSource Pasco Hernando board of directors and is a founding member of the Pasco Hernando Local College Access Network, the resolution says.
Arbour’s “professionalism and expertise have influenced the outcomes of key initiatives including making
Workforce Connect a permanent fixture in the Pasco EDC’s economic development plans,” the resolution adds.
Plus, “Turner’s efforts in compiling extensive reports on labor availability, wages, and workforce training programs were pivotal in attracting Gary Plastic Packaging Corporation to Pasco County in 2022, resulting in an investment of over $16 million and the creation of 555 new jobs,” the resolution says.
It’s also noteworthy that beyond bolstering Pasco’s workforce development, Arbour also has made a positive difference in Florida’s economy “by attracting more employers, fostering collaborations
between educational institutions, nonprofits, and businesses, and innovating training programs,” according to the resolution.
After the board approved the resolution, Arbour thanked board members for the honor.
He credited the team he works with at Pasco EDC; the leadership of Bill Cronin, its president and CEO; his family; and, the workforce development community.
“The award from the Florida Economic Development Council is a testament to our community’s commitment to our businesses and their workers, through the WorkForce Connect program,” Arbour said.
He thanked the county board for continuing to support the program through proceeds from Penny for Pasco.
“Workforce Connect was created to connect businesses to the talent they need now and to help them plan for their talent needs in the future. Over the past five years, we’ve had the opportunity to personally help hundreds of businesses find and train their talent, right here in Pasco County and our website has helped thousands more.
“We’ve been able to help companies like nfant labs in Port Richey connect with Wendell Krinn Technical High School and take on interns from their biomedical science program.
“We’ve also helped companies like Delta Hydronics in Hudson upskill their employees through AmSkills program, and ConGlobal in Odessa connect with Saint Leo University and take on interns from Saint Leo’s new College of Computing, artificial intelligence, robotics and data science program, just to name a couple of examples.
“It’s been success stories like these that also help Pasco attract new employers, like Gary Plastics Packaging Corp. to Hudson and Bauducco to Zephyrhills.
“I believe that Workforce Connect really gives Pasco County a leg up on other communities when it comes to attracting new businesses.
“It’s been a blast doing this work, through building relationships with our partners and local businesses. I look forward to continuing to help our employers hire local,” Arbour said.
Pasco County Commission Jack Mariano told Arbour: “Turner, you are a breath of fresh air in the economic development world. Your passion shows in your voice. Your actions are phenomenal. You’ve got a great team with you, great leadership with Bill Cronin and company.
“We appreciate you here. We want you to keep on growing and keep on doing the great work you’re doing.”
Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey was pleased by the recognition that Arbour received by his selection for the Toni Jennings award.
“This is a great honor, Turner. Thank you for your commitment, and great job!” Starkey said.
Commissioner Seth Weightman added: “Our job is to set strategic and quality policy that allows employers to come here and want to invest in Pasco County and with that comes the need for workforce.
“I hope that this board continues to be tremendous partners with you as we grow our economy.
“Thank you for your strategic efforts. Board members are fierce advocates for quality jobs.”
Commission Chairman Ron Oakley told Arbour: “Just keep up the good work because we’re going to keep bringing good businesses here, so you’ll have a lot to do.”
Published January 03, 2024