All posts by Cory Skeates


Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching Adds Human Resources Consulting to Services Offered

emily and marci
January 7, 2019
Lakeland, FL— Former Publix Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Alison Midili
Smith, Ph.D., joins Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching.
Emily Rogers has invited former Publix Human Resources executive, Alison Midili Smith, Ph.D., to join her team. In addition to existing executive coaching; leadership
development training; team development; and retreat and strategic planning facilitation services, Rogers will now offer her clients human resources consulting services. These services will include succession planning; strategic human resource planning; hiring, onboarding and retention best practices; performance management tools and processes; and employee engagement strategies. Emily founded her company six years ago and says, “I’m delighted to be collaborating with Alison. A cohesive human resources strategy is essential to supporting a company’s growth plan. Talent and leadership potential must be scaled in order to effectively scale
and grow a business. Our collaborative efforts will ensure that our clients are fully
equipped to create the outcomes that matter most their company’s success.” Alison brings more than two decades of human resources experience and firsthand
knowledge of the positive impact that is achieved when companies focus on and invest in developing the potential of their employees. She served as the Senior Vice President Human Resources for Publix Super Markets, Inc. In this leadership role, she served on the CEO executive team providing strategic leadership in areas such as hiring, onboarding, training development and delivery, succession planning, corporate communication strategy, change management implementation, performance management, business planning, leadership development and employee engagement. During her tenure, Publix was named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” for 21 consecutive years. Additionally, Alison received the Great Place to Work for All Leadership Award by the Great Place to Work Institute, which recognizes top women leaders across Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”. Prior to working at Publix, Alison consulted with multiple organizations to improve their human resource practices around talent management. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a Master’s degree and a Doctorate degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of South Florida. Emily Rogers, of Emily Rogers Consulting + Coaching in Lakeland, is a business consultant, executive coach and retreat leader who strategically advises organizations and individuals in growing and realizing their full potential in purposeful and balanced ways.


Polk State College to Launch Aircraft Dispatcher Certification Program

Polk State College PSC_Strong_BLK_2Color
Lakeland, Fla., January 2, 2019 — Polk State College is launching an aircraft dispatcher certification program in February 2019, directly responding to an industry need and offering an accelerated pathway for students to rewarding, high-wage careers.
It will be the only aircraft dispatcher certification program in Florida west of I-95, serving as an attractive opportunity for those interested in the aviation industry due to the accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and quality of Polk State and its Aerospace Program.
Students will be eligible for employment with an average starting salary of $47,982 upon completing the six-week, non-credit program, which will cost no more than $5,000. The certification will also articulate to 24 credit hours toward Polk State’s Associate in Science in Aerospace Administration.
“This is for people who love aviation but may not be able to commit the time or resources to flight training,” said Eric Crump, Director of Polk State Aerospace. “Aircraft dispatchers are essentially nonflying pilots — every aircraft in the sky is managed by a dispatcher on the ground. Industry representatives on our advisory board expressed the need for aircraft dispatchers — a field that is experiencing a growing need, similar to that of pilots and airplane technicians – and we have worked diligently to develop this program to fulfill the need of the industry we serve.”
More than 30 employers nationally are actively seeking dispatcher candidates, and with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projecting airline traffic to double in the next 20 years, employment opportunities will only continue to increase. For the 160,000 airline pilots nationwide in 2017, there were only 21,000 aircraft dispatchers.
Polk State industry partners ExpressJet and JetBlue have both expressed interest in qualified, certified applicants, said Crump, who hopes to develop preferential hiring agreements that will lead to direct employment for students in the aircraft dispatcher field. Polk State Aerospace holds preferential hiring agreements with both airlines for pilots.
The accelerated program will provide students with the 200 hours of required training as
well as the first attempt on the FAA exam, which has a 95 percent national pass rate.
Classes will take place Monday through Friday with day options from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and night options from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The program will include five weeks of
instruction and a week of exams.
The College has partnered with the Aviation Institute of Technology, which will provide
the curriculum at Polk State Airside Center West in Lakeland. Aviation Institute of
Technology’s Adam Aboueid realized the absence of an aircraft dispatcher certification
program in southwest Florida when he moved from North Carolina, where he developed
a program at a community college after five years as an aircraft dispatcher.
“The FAA informed me that Polk State was interested in developing a program and it
took off from there,” Aboueid said. “Polk State has the facilities to house the program,
and I have the resources to develop the curriculum.”
The program will be intensive, he explained, but will open a door of opportunities for
students interested in the aviation industry.
“The industry is big and there are many places to take this certification,” he said. “From
commercial and public airlines, to private operations, there are many avenues students
can take.”
Polk State Aerospace graduate John Ford echoed a similar sentiment. He received his
Polk State Associate in Science (AS) in Aerospace Administration in 2015 and his
Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Administration on Dec. 13.
Ford, who worked as a dispatcher after receiving his AS, said although the College did
not offer an aircraft dispatcher certification program while he was a student, Polk State
exposed him to a variety of airline jobs and gave him the skills he needed to be
successful in the aviation industry.
“Polk State Aerospace was a turning point for me in my career,” he said. “The program
shed light on the different opportunities the industry has to offer, and I was awed by the
idea of becoming a dispatcher. As a dispatcher, you communicate flight paths, weather,
and safety-related items with the pilots, providing a challenging yet rewarding
The aircraft dispatcher certification program is a collaborative effort between Polk State
Aerospace and Polk State Corporate College, which facilitates most of Polk State’s
noncredit programs.
“This program will position students for rewarding, high-wage careers that fill local
workforce needs, aligning with the mission of Polk State Corporate College and the
College as a whole,” said Howard Drake, Director of Polk State Corporate College.
The aircraft dispatcher certification program will accept up to 25 students for its first
cohort, which is expected to start classes in late February 2019.
Prospective students may contact Eric Crump, Director of Polk State Aerospace, at or 863.298.6858.
About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a
multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied
Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as
well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also
operates three charter high schools.
Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty;
day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a
diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and
intercollegiate athletics.


Get Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot for the City of Lakeland Special Election

POLK COUNTY, FL (December 31, 2018) – Mail ballots are available for eligible voters who reside within the City of Lakeland, and who would like to vote-by-mail in the January 15th   Special Election.

Voters can request that a ballot be mailed to them by calling the Elections Office at

863-534-5888, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, or by clicking on the “Vote by Mail” button at  Voted ballots must be returned to the Supervisor of Elections by 7 pm on Special Election Day, January 15th.

For more information visit, or call the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.



Health Care Industry Job Fair Slated for Jan 10th in Auburndale

Polk County, Florida, Jan 2, 2019 – The Central Florida Media Group will host the Central Florida Health Job Fair for healthcare professionals on Thursday, Jan 10th between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The job fair will be held at the Auburndale Civic Center at 115 W Park Street in Auburndale located near the park in downtown Auburndale.

Top area healthcare employers are looking to fill a wide variety of healthcare related positions including physical therapists, medical assistants, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, occupational therapists, licensed health Insurance representatives, home health aides and administrative staff.

Employers will be looking to fill both entry-level and experienced positions.  The Health Care Job Fair will also offer job seekers looking to get started in the healthcare industry the opportunity to explore training programs.

For more details about the event visit

About Central Florida Media Group

Central Florida Media Group is a marketing, advertising, and publishing company located in Winter Haven, Fla. They publish seven award-winning magazines, including Central Florida Health News, which connects the consumer to the local healthcare community. For more information, go to