While elected officials may talk “jobs jobs jobs” as they spend hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds, reality tells a different tale. The latest example is the planned Major League Soccer stadium in Parramore, which will create just 60 permanent jobs after spending millions of public dollars.
The Orlando soccer stadium is competing with other stadium projects around the state for millions more in state sales tax dollars. According to the Orlando City Soccer team’s own application to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the stadium project will create only 60 permanent jobs.
The team claims another 500 part-time positions, based on projections from other MLS stadium operations. But that means those part-time workers will only be working a few days each year, as the City of Orlando has already admitted on the record that the MLS stadium will not be occupied 90% of the year. These “jobs” are not going to help the poverty situation sweeping Orlando, nor will they change the fact that Orlando consistently ranks as the lowest paying wage market in America.
The team also states the project will create another 525 temporary construction jobs when construction really starts in February. While the team pledges to hire 90% of the workers from Florida there is no current information available on how many local Orlando or Parramore hires will be part of those numbers.
This is quite the contrast to claims made by Mayor Buddy Dyer and other elected officials during the controversial process of pushing through the stadium. In fact, Fox 35 News reported in October: “Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said this will create thousands of jobs, both during the stadium’s construction and with its operation once it’s built.”
“We’re going to use our blueprint program. And we are going to employee 3,000 people through that program, and we have a target ex-offenders, homeless and Parramore residents, but it’s not exclusive through that,” said Dyer in mid-October.
Commissioner Regina Hill pledged during her campaign to “bring jobs to the district- starting with the construction of the soccer stadium on Church Street,” according to WKMG Local 6 news.
But based on the own words of the soccer team, the jobs claims just don’t add up. And the reality is only 60 permanent jobs will be created. Records requests have been made to the City of Orlando regarding the jobs and apprenticeship programs related to the MLS soccer stadium project and this will be monitored closely moving forward.