STRIVE Orlando Program

1. Program Overview

Creating valuable job opportunities for the City of Orlando is essential to our future prosperity. Through strategic partnerships, business development services, business retention and expansion programs, the city has continued to foster a business climate that improves the qualify of life and opportunities for our residents.

The STRIVE Orlando Program purpose is to create a new performance-based local job incentive program to assist in advancing broad-based prosperity in the City of Orlando and Greater Orlando region. Previously programs in the state and region target high-wage, high-value job creation at a minimum of 115% of the local average wage. The Strive Orlando Program emulates both in-state and out of state programs in structure and benefit with a few key changes:

  1. Base decisions on median wage rather than average, which is a more accurate metric of Orlando’s wage distribution.
  2. Using the Neighborhood Opportunity Index, to identify neighborhoods (census block groups) at different Tiers to stimulate job growth, capital investment, and human development.
  3. Use of the National median wage (NMW), to encourage not only high-wage job creation, but also middle-wage job creation in the region’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. 

2. Neighborhood Opportunity Index – Tiers I, II, III and IV

The STRIVE Orlando Program groups every Census block group into four Tiers based on the neighborhood’s opportunity score, using the Neighborhood Opportunity Index (NOI). The NOI measures the median household income, unemployment rate, percent of the population with a college degree, etc. to determine the opportunity score.

Tier I areas will represent neighborhoods with the lowest opportunity scores. Tier II is less than average but better than Tier I. Tier III and IV areas represent neighborhoods with the best opportunity scores. Opportunity Zones and SBA HUB Zones are automatically Tier I communities.

 

3. Median Wages Middle-Wage Job Growth

Tracked as part of the Orlando Prosperity Scorecard, middle-wage job growth is a key component to building a resilient economy, especially during and after a recession.[1] In this program, a middle-wage job is defined as a job that pays at or over 100% of the NMW. 

Median wages (instead of average wages) are more telling of the true wage distribution. The median is less susceptible to skew created by a few extremely high-wage jobs while a large percentage of the workforce makes low wages. Using the national median instead of a local median encourages the recruitment of nationally competitive, attainable jobs to Orlando.                                                                 


4. Criteria

  • A company must apply to the City of Orlando Economic Development Department and receive City Council approval prior to deciding to locate or expand in the City of Orlando.
  • A company must demonstrate that the incentive will make a material difference in the company’s decision to locate or expand within the city.
  • This incentive may be stackable with other city programs upon discretion but may not be utilized with the state of Florida QTI Program.
  • To receive incentives, the project median wages must be at or above 100% of the NMW. Job creation bonuses are available to companies locating in different community Tiers (see Chart 1).
    • Wage requirements are updated annually on March 31. All incentive applications received on or after March 31
    • The NOI will be updated on a bi-annual basis.
  • A base, per job, incentive amount of up to $500 is available to companies paying at or above 100% of the NMW. Bonus incentives are available to companies locating in different community Tiers, for hiring 25% of employees from a Tier I or Tier II neighborhood adjacent to a Tier I community and paying over 150% -200% over the NMW. (see Chart 1)
  • Must hire a minimum of 10 new jobs in a targeted industry as defined by the State of Florida. Eligible industries should include customer support centers, manufacturing, and logistics/distribution that pay at or above the NMW.
  • Projects that are local (non-traded) and do not export out of the market like retail, restaurants and hospitality are not eligible.
  • Eligible companies must occupy a physical location that is large enough to accommodate one employee per 200 square feet.
  • Eligible companies must certify incentivized jobs will spend at least 50% of their working hours in the City of Orlando location.
  • Companies relocating within the Orlando MSA will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For more information or to apply, please contact Sherry Gutch at sherry.gutch@orlando.gov

Chart 1- Incentive Range

 

Company Location

 

Tier I

Tier II

Tier III

Tier IV

Base Incentive

$500

$500

$500

$500

Bonus for locating business In Tier

$1,000

$750

$500

$0

Bonus for hiring 25% of employees from Tier I or adjacent Tier II

$500

$500

$500

$500

Bonus for paying 150% over the NMW

$250

$250

$250

$250

Bonus for paying 200% over the NMW

$250

$250

$250

$250

Total available incentive, per qualified job

$2,500

$2,250

$2,000

$1,500

5. Payout and Compliance

  • The STRIVE Orlando Program is performance based, centered on targeted job creation, and payable at 25% per year over four years per job creation phase.
  • The company will be required to maintain these jobs for a five (5) year period from execution of an incentive agreement with the City of Orlando.
  • Once jobs are confirmed, companies can begin to submit documentation for funding payouts.
  • Recipients of the program funding must submit an annual statement to certify their performance.
  • The annual statement must be reviewed and certified by a third-party, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), prior to submittal to the city.