The FIU Factor

FIU is an important part of Miami’s future and can be leveraged as such.

According to a recent report released by FIU, there are 682,000 creative class workers in Miami. The creative class includes workers in the fields of medicine, business, arts, tech, and media.  FIU began creating these reports called the “Creative City Initiative” to track the diversity and strength of this sector, which is arguably the most important class of workers for the future of Miami. If Miami wants to grow beyond a tourist, entertainment, service economy, it needs Creative Class jobs and salaries. These salaries average at $75,000, which is far above the median income in Miami ($47,000) and create a range of businesses that create a more resilient ecosystem. In addition, creative class jobs nurture talented workers that are more likely to start their own businesses, reaping rewards for generations to come.

Creative class jobs

Creative class jobs as defined by the “Creative City” Report

In order to keep this class growing, Miami needs a steady stream of talented young individuals that will go into these jobs. Jobs in these fields usually require advanced education, and access to university graduates is important. There is a history of great cities being tied to great universities that feed them, creative young workers. Examples include: UT & Austin / The Research Triangle & Raleigh / Georgia Tech & Atlanta. These pairings, when recognized, can be leveraged to create new business, and foster a more resilient city. Miami has this unique opportunity with FIU. 

FIU (Florida International University) is the 4th largest university in the United States, with an enrollment of 54,000 students. It has numerous advanced programs spread over its 23 colleges and schools. It has expanded its graduate programs significantly, including degrees in architecture, business, medicine, and law. Lastly, FIU is designated as a high research university by the Carnegie Foundation, which marks a huge transformation from its beginnings as a 2-year college to established research university today.

This is all remarkable news for the City of Miami, both immediately and long term. The immediate impact can be seen in initiatives like the report mentioned above. FIU produces hundreds of research reports regarding different aspects of Miami politics, economics, real estate, etc. These give our elected officials and citizens unprecedented information about the progress and problems of our city. In addition, there are a number of private partnerships with companies such as Royal Caribbean and Coastal Construction soliciting student research and creativity in the lab.

Royal Caribbean 1

Royal Caribbean staging and training facility on FIU’s campus

The long-term impact will be reaped over generations of thousands and thousands of college educated students pumped into the Miami economy, many of which will work in Miami’s creative class. While the University of Miami and Miami-Dade help this along, many of UM’s students leave Miami upon graduation to work in other markets, and Miami-Dade’s programs, while decent, are below FIU’s in creating creative class jobs. Finally, the sheer size of FIU guarantees that every year, thousands of people graduate with degrees they can use to better our communities. The future success of Miami and the maturation of the city economically depends on this relationship, and the acknowledgment of this helps us to better leverage that for decades to come.


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Click to access Building_Miamis_Creative_Economy_FINAL_2-14-17.pdf