Tech-Enabled Manufacturing Soars in Polk County
As manufacturing continues to return to the United States, Polk County plays a key role in attracting new companies to the area, offering reasonably priced land, tax incentives and a strong talent pipeline – all in a location where people want to live.
In the last five years, a variety of companies have located or expanded in one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas, including Nucor Steel Florida, Florida Can Manufacturing and Peace River Citrus. They are proof that technology-enabled manufacturing fits in and thrives in our diverse economic climate.
In fact, manufacturing continues to be the No. 1 sector seeking opportunities here, many of whom start their search using the expertise of the Central Florida Development Council. The CFDC, designated as the county’s economic development agency, provides detailed economic data for companies contemplating relocation or expansion, among other things.
There are several reasons why Polk County attracts manufacturers, which offer high-skill, higher-wage jobs that help boost everything from income levels to tax revenue, including:
- Large tracts of available land. One aviation project alone is looking for 1,300 acres.
- A strong talent pool supported by seven institutions of higher learning that adapt their course offerings to industry needs. Polk State College’s quick response training programs prepared Nucor Steel’s workforce, ensuring ready-to-work employees when the steel company’s $240 million micro mill opened in 2020. In addition, Florida Polytechnic University is the only state institution in Florida dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees, producing engineers doing research on next-generation technology and resources.
- Access to more than 10 million people within 100 miles.
Thomas, which tracks the source of consumable goods and materials, said 2021 was robust for the United States, where companies returned manufacturing from China and other areas of East Asia. More than 80% of companies surveyed said they see that trend continuing, which could add $443 billion in value to the U.S. economy in the near future, according to supplychainbrain.com.
In Polk County, tech-enabled manufacturing is strong, evidenced by:
- The avionic industry, which supports everything from aerospace to the Department of Defense.
- Autonomous vehicles, whose programming is verified and tested at Florida Poly’s Advanced Mobility Institute and the Florida Turnpike Enterprise’s SunTrax.
- Health sciences, which provides goods nationally.
The Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center (ILC) in Winter Haven is an ideal site for manufacturers seeking space and access. A key distribution point in the center of the state served by CSX rail and major highways, including Interstate 4, State Road 60 and U.S. 27, the ILC attracted Florida Can Manufacturing to build an advanced manufacturing plant to produce aluminum cans there. In addition, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC recently expanded its local presence to the ILC. Those two tenants are likely to attract others interested in building near like-minded industries.
Now is the time, and Polk County is the place. Whether you’re new to the area and producing air purification systems like Molekule or are expanding so you can provide Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid orange juice to every McDonald’s in the world like Peace River Citrus, we have space that will work for you. The CFDC will be your partner on the journey to success, connecting you with resources and advocating for you. If you’re interested, contact Sean Malott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article originally published by SME.