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America's Healthiest, Friendliest Retirement Town
The Villages, Where Life is Good
A long-time reader asked me to look at The Villages as a subject for city review and job openings, and future trends.
I'll do that and include expanding travel and tourism adventures locally, which also offer new jobs. The city is favorable to relocation, retirement, and family living. healthcare advances for all ages is a priority in this locale, which is vital to our aging population.
The Villages was named in 2008 as the fastest growing micropolitan (small-town) market area in the USA and has maintained that designation.
The community is an unincorporated area 20 miles from Ocala, highway I-75 to the west and the large Ocala National Forest to the east. It is also just 45 miles from adventure-packed Orlando to the southeast. I
New Healthcare System
The Villages has introduced a community-wide healthcare system. Its Health Learning Center provides health and wellness classes for patients to attend throughout the year as well. Visit the community health center at 1040 Lake Sumter Landing; The Villages, Florida 32162 or call
New Health Center
A specialized column in the local Villages Daily Sun news is called "Beyond 100", in which residents and health professionals offer material about helpful health and medical advances.
Neighborhood Social Clubs
Each neighborhood has formed a social club, many of these clubs having their own websites. In addition, special interest groups have formed organizations like the Beatlemaniacs Club, a favorite of retired Baby Boomers.
The village daily news outlet is found at www.thevillagesdailysun.com/ A recent column reported that Alison Lifka, granddaughter of Bill and Alice Lifka of The Villages entered the Iditarod sled dog race in 2018.
Some of the ambiance and feel of the community of The Villages can be gathered from the names of some of the neighborhoods and a visit to websites maintained by many of them. Below are a few examples:
- Alhambra, Amelia
- Belevedere, Belle Aire
- Calumet Grove, Caroline-7, Chatham
- Glenbrook East
- Holly Hill Villas
- Largo, Liberty Park, Lynnhaven
- Mallory Square
- Palo Alto, Poinciana
- Tierra Del Sol (one of many golf courses is pictured below)
- Villa Escandido, Villa Valdosta, Villa Vista, Virginia Trace
Inception of the Community
The Villages was planned and developed beginning in the early 1960s as a retirement and golfing community and expanded to include families in designated neighborhoods. Its original founder was Harold Schwartz.
Residential requirements in the seniors neighborhoods state that at least one member for the family must be age 55 or older. People aged 19 and younger may not live in those neighborhoods, but may visit for 30 days per year.
Developer's Granddaughter: The Blacklist's Megan Boone
The actress Megan Boone grew up in The Villages, where her parents moved to be near the grandparents. in fact, her grandfather is H. Gary Morse, The Villages' Developer, and her mother is Jennifer Parr, the current Director of Sales at The Villages.
Ms. Boone recently starred on televisions popular The Blacklist as FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen with James Spader as the infamous Raymond Reddington from 2013 - 2018.
Transportation by Golf Cart
Properties in The Villages are controlled by the Architectural Review Committee formed of residents that serve three years. Community rules include requirements for such elements as architectural structure, landscaping, and satellite dish placement. This is very similar to the area of Columbus, Ohio named German Village, with the addition of age restrictions.
The place is well known as a fun “golf cart community”, much like Peachtree Georgia, but largely for active seniors over 55. Golf carts are the chosen from of transport along specially built paths and along most streets and roads. This draws news residents for easy of driving and use of alternative energy (electricity).
The Villages operates a local government based on the Community Development District (CDD) model of Florida that governs some 200 communities. It also offers two no-fee homeowners associations: The Property Owners Association (POA) and The Villages Homeowners Association (VHA).
Sumter Landing Golf Cart Wedding
The Old Town Square
The founder of The Villages felt that people were at home in the old town square of yesteryear that anchored many small towns through the 1960s and have made a comeback in urban renewal throughout the country. The Villages supports two major town squares that provide free entertainment, dining, shopping, theater, and other activities. They are named Spanish Springs and Lake Sumter Landing.
Recreation and Sports In Central Florida
Outdoor water sports and recreational activities are resplendent in this part of Florida, especially in Orlando, Ocala, and the Ocala National Forest. The region is known for its excellent hiking trails and fishing.
The Villages provides 24 separate Executive Golf 9-hole golf courses and advertise that they are always adding additional golfing opportunities. Greens fees are free to residents. However, a total of 9 championship golf courses, including one each built by Nancy Lopez and Arnold Palmer, operate in The Villages as well. This includes professional tournaments. Greens fees are reasonable and the courses are open to non-residents; 9-hole fees are half price.
Indoor activities and entertainment are well developed in this town in order to please residents and travelers. The result is that the town also draws new workers, families, businesses, students, and conventions to the area.
The Villages offers neighborhood, village, and regional recreation centers, along with a woodworking shop, a polo venue, and several softball fields. There is plenty to do and to watch.
So many activities are offered in The Villages, that you must visit the link to view them all. One unusual activity is the Golf Cart Drill Team. Visit the link at THE VILLAGES RECREATION.
Pickleball is a Favorite
One of the most popular local recreational and sports activities in and around The Villages is Pickleball. A close runner up is the Golf Cart Drill Team competitions.
Business and Jobs Trends to AD 2024
Given the characteristics of the residential population and the number of travelers coming through Ocala and The Villages, the following Healthcare and Sales & Service jobs are steadily increasing:
- Physical Therapists and Assistants
- Occupational Therapists and Assistants.
- Registered Nurses (RNs), especially travel nurses.
- Customer Service Specialists
- Salespersons: General, retail, specialty.
- Sales and Service Specialists, including Call Centers.
- Inside Salespersons
- Speech Therapists and Assistants
- Dentists and Dental Assistants
- Certified Nursing Aids (CNAs)
The propensity of physical and occupational therapy positions open in and around the Villages suggests the concentration of retirees in the area and in a good way. Middle-agers and Seniors can often live more active lives longer with such assistance.
Some of these individuals have planned well for retirement and bring with them substantial disposable income, which may be represented in the high number of positions open in sales and service occupations in the list below.
No doubt, some of these jobs involve health and medical products and services which increase in use among Seniors generally as time progresses.
Efficient Employment Listings, Including Healthcare Options
The most frequently listed job openings in The Villages are gathered minute-by-minute online by two premiere job search and trending engines, SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com. Use both together so as not to miss a single job listing.
These two organizations gather updated information in an ongoing fashion from online recruiters, job search engines, company websites, and other Internet venues, along with data from governmental departments that specialize in employment trends, unemployment rates, industry and employment projections and other relevant material.
Wherever a job is listed on the Internet in America, these two job engines will crawl that site and pick it up.
Top Job Advertisers in The Villages Area
- The Villages Regional Medical Center
- Florida Hospital Ocala
- Central Florida Health
- CVS Health Retail
- Ocala Regional Medical Center
- Encompass Health
- Central Florida Health Alliance
- Almost Family: Home health care agency.
- PTRS: Therapy positions and Brookdale Senior Living (tie)
- Pizza Hut & Pizza Hut/YUM! Brands
- Ocala Regional Medical Center
Fastest Growing Occupations
Official federal and state government projections of fastest growing jobs include the following, with median wages as of AD 2015:
- Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts at $28.00/hour and above
- Home Health Aides (HHAs) $10.50
- Physician Assistants $ 43.00: Nurse Practioners can fill these positions.
- Pharmacy Technicians $12.85
- Medical Assistants $13.00+
- Computer Software Engineers $39.00+
- Pharmacists $46.00+
- Special Education Teachers for Preschool thru Grade 5 $27.00
- Respiratory Therapists $23.00
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants $22.00 and above
- Court Reporters $20.00
- Database Administrators $34.00+
- Occupational Therapists $31.29
- Registered Nurses (RNs) $28.50+
- Special Education Teachers in Middle School $26.39 and above
- Lifelong Learning College is located at 251 Buffalo Trail, Lady Lake: (352) 753-3035. It provides a personal enrichment educational system offered to residents and the general public with 6 different ways to register for courses. Classes include everything from fine arts to GED preparation and many can lead to regular or retirement employment. Dance, computer courses, culinary arts, genealogy, languages, parapsychology, real estate - there is even Clown Class. It's all pretty interesting and inexpensive. Educational trips are also offered, such as to Israel or through the Panama Canal. The course catalog is at least 74 pages long!
- Beacon College
- Central Florida Community College in Ocala
- Lake-Sumter Community College
- Rasmussen College in Ocala
- Taylor College in Ocala
- Nearly two dozen postsecondary institutions are located in Orlando, Florida as well.
© 2009 Patty Inglish MS