POINCIANA – For years – throughout most of the community’s history, in fact – Poinciana was a bedroom community. People moved here to buy or rent a home, while working somewhere else, most likely the theme parks or in Orlando.
Now the community of 69,000 people, spread out across 10 villages in both Osceola and Polk counties, could be on the verge of having a much healthier mix of jobs and houses. The catalyst for the change is the fact that Osceola Regional Medical Center is planning to build the first hospital in Poinciana, and will break ground this year on the first part of that hospital, a medical arts building.
With those buildings on the way – and the promise of not just new construction jobs, but permanent medical and administrative positions as well — Leo Delgada is sending out the word to the residents of Poinciana: if you have a particular job skill, he wants to know about it.
“We have a new initiative on jobs,” said Delgada. “The hospital is to be built soon, and some of the other commercial buildings around it, and this has become a tool for finding employment in Poinciana. We’ve become a conduit for the developer and getting people into jobs. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Delgada is the president of the Poinciana Digital Village, a Web site that aims to become a creative way to unite the people of Poinciana, and provide them with news about their community and their own village, as well as a source for helping people find jobs. One of the resources available on the site is a section where people can post their resumes so future employers can tap into their skills.
“There’s always a lot of talent here,” Delgada said. “We can communicate between a job applicant and an employer, and we think it has a lot of potential here.”
Traditionally, Poinciana’s villages were mainly filled with residential units. That began to change during the height of the housing boom in 2005-2006, when a growing number of commercial strip plazas opened up, attracting businesses that wanted to provide services to all the new residents moving in here.
The Poinciana hospital, though, may be a game changer for the community, since it has the potential to generate a growing number of spin-off jobs related to the health care industry – or simply new businesses like restaurants hoping to serve the people working at the hospital.
Delgada said residents should act now to let the hospital’s builders know what kind of talent is available in the community.
“Basically, sign up for the site and we are the conduit between the employers and the residents by posting jobs when they become available,” he said. “People can post their resume and make it available to the employer.”
Delgada said he expects Poinciana to begin to see solid and steady job growth in the next few years, changing it from a bedroom community where people work somewhere else to a community where people can find jobs close to their home.
“I think the community leaders see this as an opportunity to have jobs for our people,” he said. “It is a big trend. I think the community has come of age.”
The Poinciana Digital Village was created by the Association of Poinciana Villages, the homeowner’s association for the community, as a way to create a central online location for the entire community, a place where they can get local news, traffic and weather reports, job resources, and more.
“We’re hoping that we become a source of bringing this community together and giving it an identity because it has been years without that,” Delgada said. “I went to a school budget committee meeting and I was amazed at the activities going on at the school, and they have no way to advertise that to the community. There may be volunteer opportunities with the schools and nobody knows this unless you’re right there in front of them.”
It also enables the homeowners association to reach out to more residents — assuming they sign up for the site, Delgada said.
“This is absolutely going to help even for the APV to communicate with people,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of email addresses.”
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