CHOCOLATE FOR VALENTINE’S DAY? - According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Products and
Services, $14.9 billion is the estimated value of chocolate and cocoa product shipments for manufacturers of these products. The median
age for men and women at first marriage is age 29.5 and 27.6, respectively.
SOLAR INDUSTRY ADDING LOTS OF JOBS - A recent census by the nonprofit Solar Foundation reveals that the solar industry
expanded 20 percent over the previous year and now provides 209,000 jobs. Solar-related jobs represent 1.2 percent of all new jobs
added in the U.S. in 2015. This number is expected to rise 14.7 percent in 2016. The nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council is
working to expand solar skills training programs. For information go online to: citylab.com/work/2016/01/solar-job-growth-american-economy-marco-rubio/424035/.
ACADEMY PREPS STUDENTS FOR AGRISCIENCE CAREERS - The Academy of Agriscience at New Smyrna Beach High School prepares
students for careers in agriscience, horticulture, veterinary assisting, and aquaculture. Through the school farm and the area’s marine
environments, students have opportunities to connect with local projects in agricultural sciences. For information email Jaime Davis,
director, at: email@example.com.
TRAINING GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR MILITARY VETS - The Florida VETS Training Grants Program provides funding to qualifying
businesses for existing or customized educational programs through partial reimbursement to businesses hiring and training veterans.
Businesses are reimbursed for 50 percent of training costs, up to $8,000 per new, fulltime veteran employee. The training can be
completed in-house or through a third party. For an application, go online to: veteransflorida.org/grant.
3.2 MILLION WORKING IN GIG ECONOMY JOBS - According to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, about 14.6 million
people were self-employed in 2014. Of those, about 3.2 million are working in the so-called "on- demand" or gig economy. The on-demand
economy is defined as an online marketplace or application that connected providers/freelancers with customers. In addition to
transportation and home or apartment rentals, this also can include job sites or other services.
NO SURPRISE: FRUITS, VEGETABLES MOST POPULAR FARMER'S MARKET PURCHASES - More than 97 percent of respondents to a recent
survey of Floridians who have attended a farmer’s market report purchasing fruits and vegetables. In addition, half of the respondents
purchased food products to include honeys, jams, and prepared food items other than baked goods. Other, less frequent, food
purchases included eggs (25.6 percent), cheese (21.7 percent), baked goods including bread (21.4 percent), meat/fish (20.6 percent),
and milk (11.7 percent). To learn more, visit www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/Florida.htm.
WORKSHOP FOR SMALL BUSINESS STARTUPS - The local SCORE chapter will offer a workshop for anyone starting a small business
or a new business owner seeking funding. The workshop is February 11 from 6 - 8 p.m. To register go online to: score87.org or
FLORIDA ORANGE CROP DROPS - Florida produced its smallest orange crop in 52 years during the 2014-15 growing season,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The overall acreage of orange groves in Florida, the top U.S. grower, has dropped to
the lowest level since 1966. The biggest consumers of Florida fresh citrus are Floridians, followed by consumers in New York, New
Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. VISIT Florida gives away about 35,761 gallons of juice to travelers each year, enough to
fill six swimming pools.