Valencia College Partners With EDC to Lure Verizon to Central Florida

When Gov. Rick Scott and local officials held a press conference on Feb. 13 to announce that Verizon Communications will establish a finance center in Lake Mary, Valencia College officials were proud to be on hand for the announcement.

Valencia College was one of many organizations that worked with the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission to woo Verizon, a Fortune 100 company.

When complete, the new facility will create up to 750 new jobs and represent a $50 million capital investment in the Orlando region.  The new office, which will be built in Lake Mary’s Heathrow office park, brings together Verizon’s accounting, finance, payroll and back-office operations from other areas of the country.

Michelle Robinson, president of Verizon’s southeast region, said executives for the wireless carrier scouted locations for about a year before settling on Central Florida.

“We have received a warm welcome from the state and local economic development partners, who aided in our decision process to locate in metro Orlando,” Robinson said. “The region’s talent pipeline, which is full of finance and accounting graduates, was an integral factor in Verizon choosing to invest in Central Florida.”

The accountants, managers, financial analysts and other employees at the center will be paid an average salary of $55,000. Although Verizon expects to move some current employees from other states to Lake Mary, company officials said most of the center’s workers would be hired locally.

Valencia College was among the organizations that worked together to support the Verizon project. Other partners included the State of Florida, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the City of Lake Mary, Seminole County, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC). Workforce Florida Inc., University of Central Florida and Seminole State College.

As part of the package, Valencia will permit children of transferred Verizon employees to pay in-state tuition for one year after their families relocate to Florida.

Valencia is a member of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, a not-for-profit, private/public partnership. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has helped thousands of companies relocate, expand and grow in the four-county metro Orlando region. This has led to the creation of more than 173,000 jobs; over $9.4 billion in capital investment; and more than 78.8 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed.