What is it that makes Greater Gainesville such a desirable place to call home? Home to over 288,000 residents, if you asked a sampling of 200 different people, you might get 200 different answers. One common theme however is talent. We are a region focused on Talent. Developing talent. Attracting talent. Retaining talent. Developing talent comes from the education side. With an A-Rated school system, a top-7 rated public university, the number one ranked community college in the nation and top career & technical training magnets, Greater Gainesville might be the best region in America at developing talent.
Retention and attraction of talent falls on the community. Residents who already reside here and those looking to relocate here have quite a few variances in their top priorities, but they almost all come from the following: Quality education, top-rated healthcare, a vibrant business community, a safe place to raise their family, and a great quality of life.
Five years ago, leaders at the University of Florida were eager to define and collaboratively express what makes our region so unique and attractive. I started doing my research and building that collaboration. Our collaborators have grown but include the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, UF Health, the cities of Alachua, Newberry, High Springs, Hawthorne, Gainesville, and Alachua County.
Starting on page 12, we aim to define Why Greater Gainesville. What is it within each of these sections that helps Greater Gainesville stand apart? Through five years of publishing Guide, I have paid close attention to what our residents, business leaders and community advocates have to say. Through over 200 interviews, some common answers kept coming up. They are consistent with some of my own. I see things through a different lens than some. That is what makes us all unique. As a father, I want a safe place to raise my kids. I want competitive opportunities for them to advance their skills. I want them to have the best possible education to help them achieve their goals in life. As a husband, I want the opportunity to date my wife. Great places to take my wife for a nice dinner out, cultural events such as concerts, shows and sporting events to attend. Opportunities to get away from the work week and relax on the weekend. As a resident of this community for 30 years, my family and I are very active in the community. We serve on charity boards and volunteer. Being a part of such a giving community keeps us grounded. As a business owner, I want the opportunity to grow and build my business. Is the talent available to hire? Are the resources available to grow and develop? Is the environment conducive to success? Throughout this resource guide, we try and showcase the answers we have found to all these questions.
This year is different than most. Covid has changed so many things within our community, our state, and our country. On top of all the other questions, I want to also know that we are safe. Alachua County has consistently been about the best for low numbers of infected. Through the University of Florida and companies in our Biotech and Medical fields, we have been involved in leading research, development, and treatment to tackle the pandemic. Our businesses were quick to adapt and transform into a “new-normal”. I am very proud to live in a community dedicated to such high standards for quality of life and am excited to share with you so many reasons our residents choose to live, work, and play in Greater Gainesville.