Founded in 2006, the Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance of Palm Beach County (LORE) exists to stimulate business and enable sustainable economic growth in the most western region of Palm Beach County – known as “The Glades” – through education, advocacy, and business attraction, retention, and expansion. We do so through initiatives that include new business recruitment, and expansion/retention of existing businesses, creating jobs and growing our local economy. LORE closely partners with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) to help manage this most critical element of our work.
LORE defines the mission as what we do and for whom we do it. Our purpose is to advance economic development in the Glades Region, resulting in a better economic life for our residents; our purpose ultimately centers on people -- our neighbors, coworkers, and fellow civic group and church members. We seek to dramatically uplift everyone’s quality of life:
- Employment, by improving employability, employment rates, and salaries and wages
- Housing, by increase the housing stock, options, and quality while maintaining affordability
- Neighborhood Revitalization, by ensuring safe, clean, and prosperous neighborhoods
- Community Amenities, by offering quality grocers, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, and cultural enrichment options
- Community Building, through creating a greater sense of community identity
- Resident Empowerment, through efforts to empower more community engagement
LORE is constantly evaluating economic and community development needs of the Glades Region and adjusting our strategic initiatives to best meet our economic and community needs. LORE continues to serve as a catalyst, convener, event planner, incubator, advocate, facilitator, liaison, funding conduit and the like to tackle our strategic priorities.
LORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to fulfill its mission through advocacy and education in seven strategic priority areas: Workforce Development and Education; Economic Development; Small Business Support; Housing; Infrastructure Development, Improvement, and Maintenance; Tourism Development and Promotion; and Regional Branding and Marketing.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
REV. ROBERT REASE
Glades Ministerial Association
Larry Royal Family Businesses
2nd Vice President
Belle Glade Wholesale
Guardians of the Glades
Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative
Donia Adams Roberts, P.A.
MEMBERS AT LARGE
R.C. Hattton Farms
Hispanic Chamber of Palm Beach County
TKM Bengard Farms
Wells Fargo Bank
City of South Bay
CareerSource Palm Beach County
Erickson Family Farm
Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce
City of Belle Glade
Palm Beach County Department
of Housing and Economic Sustainability
DR. LaTanya McNeal
Palm Beach State College
Bank of Belle Glade
Everglades Equipment Group
Business Development Board
City of Pahokee
EDUCATION + WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
LORE’s strategic goal -- increasing the availability, skill level, and productivity of the region’s workforce to support current and future job opportunities – are supported by an initiative that include the Glades Career Readiness Roundtable (GCRR), which works to foster our residents’ career readiness through education and training.
To understand our commitment, our GCRR, a collaborative of 50-plus government leaders, educators, union leaders, civic leaders, and others, established facilities and programs to train youth and adults. GCRR facilitated renovation and reopening a long-unused learning bay at the school district's Western Technical Education Center (WTEC). Our inaugural class from the Construction Academy, all 18 students, graduated from WTEC in May 2017, and all 18 were either employed by the school district, enrolled in local state college, entered the military, or later enrolled in the adult Workforce Development program at WTEC.
West Technical Education Center (WTEC)
LORE facilitated finding funding for the renovation and reopening a long-unused learning bay at the school district's WTEC. A day high school and evening adult pre-apprenticeship construction academy, Mechatronics Academy, ABE/GED Classes, ESOL for Adults classes operate in the recently renovated and equipped facility. WTEC is also added Yoga and other programs for the community’s benefit in the Summer of 2018.
Palm Beach State College (PBSC)
Several programs were added to the curriculum of the College as a result of the GCRR’s efforts. PBSC re-opened its Cosmetology program at the Glades Campus and is offering a welding class.
LORE’s strategic goal is to enhance economic vitality through the start-up, recruitment, retention, and expansion of local businesses. The primary way LORE accomplishes the business recruitment, and business retention & expansion aspects of our economic development goals is through our partnership with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Inc. (BDB). Our economic development executives use the BDB’s technical and professional resources to:
- Promote the Glades region as viable and desirable to businesses nationally and internationally
- Liaise with state, county, and local governments and bodies to work through permitting, environmental, financial, infrastructure, and other matters that arise when locating a major facility.
When the LORE-BDB partnership began in 2013, there were no active business expansion or relocation prospects. By the end of 2017, there were many prospects representing diverse industries. Since this partnership began, we brought four companies to the Glades Region and 316 new jobs. Most of the jobs will generate salaries in the $31,200-$55,000 range.
Some of our strategic initiatives include:
- Business Recruitment Program: Diversify the economy by cultivating industry clusters and recruiting new businesses to locate major operations in the Glades.
- Business Retention & Expansion Program: Promote the growth and expansion of existing
- Small Business Support Program: Stimulate the growth and sustainability of small businesses in the Glades.
- Glades Economic Summits: Organize events that inform and educate economic development
- Economic Development 101 and 201 – LORE conceived, planned, organized, and hosted Economic Development 101 and 201 to inform and educate stakeholders about best practices in local economic development. The guests included elected officials, municipal executives, and chamber of commerce board members and executives. We partnered with the BDB to deliver the workshop content.
LORE’s strategic goal is to build stronger and more resilient communities through housing and infrastructure development, and civic engagement. Some of our strategic initiatives include:
- Glades Housing Education & Advocacy Program: Provide education and advocacy to increase the allocation of county, state and federal funding supporting affordable and workforce housing in the Glades.
- Glades Civic Pride Program: Developing a stronger identity and sense of pride, belonging, and ownership among residents, workers and business, and property owners for the Glades as a unified region.
- Voice of the Community: Ensuring open communication and effective public engagement on major local issues and initiatives.
- Glades Infrastructure Improvement Coalition: Facilitating infrastructure development and increased funding through improved communication, coordination, and collaboration between infrastructure partners in the Glades.
Some specific events included:
Is Homeownership for Me? Workshop
LORE conceived, planned, organized, and hosted a housing workshop to provide participants with a basic understanding of renting vs. buying, local programs available to homebuyers, and the criteria to qualify for these programs, pre-approval vs. pre-qualification, types of loans available, insurance, and where to find assistance.
Participants were given the opportunity to meet lenders, affordable housing agencies, and insurance companies, to answer questions specific to their situation, to gather more information, or set an appointment. We partnered with the Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability, Urban League, and Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County,
Tenant Rights Workshop
After a successful inaugural workshop in Fall 2018, LORE is planning, organizing, and hosting another housing workshop to provide tenants information regarding their rights as renters. We are again partnering with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.
Strategic Goal – Develop the Glades into a destination that attracts tourists and offers unrivaled travel experiences. Some of our strategic initiatives include:
- Tourism Familiarization Tours/Airport Tours: LORE coordinated airboat tours on Lake Okeechobee for selected travel and tourism professionals and influencers, policymakers, and the public to gain a better appreciation for the tourism opportunities in the Glades Region. Participants included Discover the Palm Beaches, South Florida PBS, Business Development Board, Palm Beach County Film Executives.
- Virtual Tourism Familiarization Tour: Create and manage a virtual tour of the Glades.
- Tourism Summits: Organize events that inform and educate travel and tourism professionals, policy makers, and the public.
- Tourism Talks – LORE conceived and launched Tourism Talks, a bimonthly roundtable discussion for those with an interest in local tourism. City leadership, the Tourist Development Council, Discover the Palm Beaches, and local travel and tourism professionals meet to learn, discuss, and strategize how to develop and promote tourism in the Glades Region.
- Community Event Capacity-Building Services: Boost the capacity of local community events to attract tourists.
- Tourism 101 – LORE conceived, planned, organized, and hosted Tourism 101 to inform and educate stakeholders about best practices in local tourism development and promotion. The guests included elected officials, municipal executives, chambers of commerce board members, and executives and tourism professionals. We partnered with the Tourist Development Council of Palm Beach County to deliver the workshop content.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
LORE completed the following inaugural activities for small business support services:
Small Business Support Workshops
To date, we planned and hosted three small business-support workshops.
- Access to Capital, for small business owners to learn about diverse ways to generate capital for their companies. The Small Business Development Center was our content partner.
- Using Social Media to Promote Your Business. Palm Beach State College was our content partner.
- Smart Start, a workshop in which Lore partnered with SCORE, to help those just starting or thinking of starting a business, coaching them on how to do it the right way and give them the tools they need to get started.
All contributions benefit Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance of Palm Beach County, Inc., a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES AT WWW.FLORIDACONSUMERHELP.COM OR BY CALLING TOLL FREE (800) 435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State. Registration # CH57567