The Florida Chamber of Commerce launched the Institute for a Safer Florida (ISF) to “focus its energy and expertise on enhancing school and workplace safety.”
“The goal of the ISF is to help Florida evolve from a state that has witnessed school and workplace violence that has claimed dozens of lives, to a state that has among the safest schools and places of employment in the nation,” the new group noted on Wednesday. “The ISF will focus and champion solutions in four key areas: safer schools, safer workplaces, mental health, and public safety.”
“Sadly, we cannot turn the clock back on the terrible tragedies that have impacted Florida’s students and workers over the past three years,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “But we can honor those lost by learning from these events and working together to help make our classrooms and our workplaces safer.”
The new group has created an advisory panel from the business, education, law enforcement and healthcare sectors.
“Parents send their children to school every day praying and expecting that their kids are being taught in the safest learning environment possible,” said Dr. Stacy Chambers, the director of the Florida State University School and a member of the ISF Advisory Panel. “While there has been work done in identifying gaps in school safety, we can do more, and the institute will help to keep a spotlight on this.”
Chad Sorenson, incoming president of the HR Florida State Council, is also on the advisory panel. “Building awareness and support for Florida workers who face mental health challenges in the workplace is an important mission for our state council,” Sorenson said. “Florida’s HR professionals can play a critical role in working with business leaders, educators and others on these school and workplace safety issues, and we are honored to play an advisory role with the institute.”
Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, will also be advising the new group. “As law enforcement officers, our goal is always to work in partnership with our communities to help assure that best practices in safety are used and that risks are identified before they materialize,” Hunter said. “This institute will help to foster ongoing dialogue and resource sharing on important questions related to safety.”