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City Spotlight: Tampa, FL

Written by Miranda Pennington

historically, tampa bay, florida, has been known for its beaches, cigar manufacturing, and phosphate production. but did you also know it’s a thriving town filled with:

  • festivals—from the annual gasparilla pirate festival to sunset music festival and tampapalooa, there is always something to do, see, drink, or eat in tampa, all year round.
  • culture—the tampa museum of art, the ringling, and the straz performing arts center offer entertainment for all ages.
  • public transit—the historic streetcar system will take you from downtown to ybor city and the channel district.
  • food—don’t miss restaurants like datz for brunch, taco bus for mexican, and berns and charley’s for steak.
  • sports—tampa’s sports saturation has something for everyone. major league baseball, football, and hockey call tampa home, and of course many mlb teams’ spring training facilities are just a car ride away.
  • family-friendly activities—the new curtis hixon park and the tampa lowry park zoo provide the whole family with active outdoor fun.

besides all the fun stuff, tampa is also an up-and-coming region for employment and housing opportunities.tampa bay’s astonishing 33,398 new job openings last month were behind only atlanta (34,492), boston (38,101), los angeles (42,961) and no. 1 new york (43,879)!

a city where young workers can thrive


according to tampabay.org, the city ranked among the top 10 large metro areas for college-educated young talent on the move. the latest census data reveals that young people aged 25 to 29 are increasingly more mobile and willing to move to new cities—consider tampa if you’re about to be on the relocation market. the careeredge funders collaborative funds nonprofit workforce-development initiatives, and tampa is seeing the benefits of these kinds of investments.

top industries in tampa


some of america’s most promising companies are located in tampa bay. sarasota-based internet communication systems and service provider star2star communications was named among america’s 100 most promising companies in 2011 by forbes. according to fastcompany magazine, florida’s start-ups are also thriving. from the hub in sarasota, to tampa bay wave’s first wave program, to large events such as start-up weekend and initiatives like the tampa bay 6/20 plan, tampa bay’s entrepreneurs are keeping busy.

overall, health care employs roughly 350,000 people in the greater tampa bay area, and broadly includes work in nursing, health administration, insurance, dentistry, nursing homes, clinics, pharmacies, health education, regulation, technology, specialized manufacturing and a host of other subsets of the industry.

the university of south florida is ranked 50th in the nation for research expenditures by the national science foundation among all u.s. universities, public or private.

a strong military presence


tampa bay is home to macdill air force base, the only military installation that hosts two 4-star combatant commands, the u.s. central command, and u.s. special operations command. macdill contributes $5 billion annually to the greater tampa bay economy.

top employers from tampa

1. baycare health system
2. manpowergroup
3. robert half
4. lowe’s
5. randstad
6. kelly services
7. general dynamics information technology
8. oracle
9. citi

most popular job types in tampa

5.financial services and banking

and if all of that weren’t compelling enough, tampa’s views are scenic and its bar scene is hopping—take a trip and see if you feel at home!

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.