July 1996 – The Polk County Workforce Development Board officially begins doing business under the Chairmanship of Marvin Hammer. The Board was formed in response to an Executive Order from Governor Lawton Chiles that replaced former Private Industry Councils (PICs) with Workforce Boards. Polk split from a five-county consortium to become a single county region. Leaders agree to operate as a nonprofit corporation and for the Board to be its own administrative entity and fiscal agent. The annual budget is 4.1 million dollars. Henkels and McCoy, Inc. is selected as the Board’s workforce service provider.
December 1996 – The Board votes to pursue designation as the county’s WAGES Coalition (Welfare reform board).