Orange County is considered to be the region’s most populous county and includes the City of Orlando, as well as twelve other incorporated cities. The county was founded in 1845 and consists of approximately 1.3 million people encompassing over 1,000 square miles. The county sits in the approximate center of the state, midway between Jacksonville andMiami. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area on the Gulf of Mexico and Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Ocean are easy drives. Two of the state’s major highways, Interstate 4 (east-west) and the Florida Turnpike (north-south), intersect just outside Orlando. In addition, Orlando’s first commuter rail transit system, SunRail, stretches 31miles from Debary, the north end of the Orlando region, to south Orange County near the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Service began in 2014 with a 9,000+ daily ridership rate in its first week. The second phase, which will extend the line further north in Volusia County and south into Osceola County, is expected to be complete in 2016 and will include five more stations that cover an additional 30 miles. The project is a result of collaboration among the Florida Department of Transportation; the Federal Government; Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties; and the City of Orlando. Also forthcoming is the All Aboard train connecting Miami to Orlando in 2017. Well known for its high tech sector, Orange County is home to the second largest university in the nation named as University of Central Florida, one of the top ten research parks in the country, one of only two national entrepreneur centers and a world-class international airport and Lake Nona Medical City.The county’s workforce is highly diversified and provides a broad spectrum of opportunities for resident and transients with diverse educational and trade skill backgrounds. The leading employment by industry consists of leisure and hospitality (25%), government (17%), education and health services (16%), and retail trade (11%).
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